Silver Lyan occupies what was once the vault of the historic Riggs Bank. Today, the cozy space is lined with comfy red sofas. Its thick concrete walls are decorated with cabinets displaying trophies that glimmer in the low lighting. (The trophies are an unusual mix, including one awarded to “Last Place Champ.”) The vault’s original metal ceiling is still proudly on display. That room is perfect for larger groups, but if you just want to swing in and have a drink while soaking in the building’s history, walk-ins are always welcome at the sleek bar.
Riggs Washington DC has a central place in the history of the nation. Built in 1891, the bank handled the personal finances of numerous U.S. Presidents, including Van Buren, Lincoln, Grant, Eisenhower, and Nixon. It eventually became known as the “Bank of Presidents.” The bank also served “The Great Compromiser,” Henry Clay, and suffragist Susan B. Anthony. In 1845, it provided the financing Samuel Morse needed to invent the telegraph and in 1868, put up $7.2 million toward the purchase of Alaska.
Silver Lyan was founded by international mixologist and bar owner Ryan Chetiyawardana–or “Mr. Lyan”—who is known for his innovative drinks. One standout, the Half-Smoke Rickey, mixes fennel seed-infused Ford’s gin, lime, soda, and flat top shrub. The bar snacks err more on the traditional side: pretzel bites and pizza rolls are all on the menu. Washington fat cats, meanwhile, have the option on dropping $110 on ice cream with a side of caviar.
Know Before You Go
Silver Lyan is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. until late. Reservations are recommended, especially for parties larger than six.