The Gin Man

Clemens Dietrich

We’re sitting at the bar and Clemens Dietrich is standing behind it in his natural habitat or at least that’s what it feels like. There’s no need of a table to talk at here because we are all familiar with this situation from the TV: You can have a good conversation with the bartender at the bar.

Carefully he lays a slice of bacon on the iced glass, looks up and grins devilishly from behind his beard: “How did I end up here? My pooch did a pooh outside the front door.”


What used to be a building site on Lübeck’s Untertrave and apparently a popular route for walking your dog, has been the polished diamond of “Dietrich’s” — café, wine bistro and bar since 2015. The man behind the bar is Clemens Dietrich, qualified restaurateur, youth travel guide and first and foremost a passionate bartender with a vision. “We work to the credo of “If you drink, do it right”, he explains and gives the gin its last tea infusion. And guests entering the small bar get an immediate feel for how you do it right, Dietrich-style. The restrained music, the atmosphere, the light, the service — the all-pervading style is one of a chic after-work club with much understatement. Here you don’t just take a drink, the drink is celebrated — in its preparation, in the way it’s served and in the drinking.

youth of a barkeeper

A leap in time: Berlin 2004, Oranienburger Straße, the party mile and in the thick of it, Clemens Dietrich behind the bar. “That’s where I got started in this profession. Pure bartender cliché with 150 cocktails at the double, plenty of show, not so much quality, a lot of partying and lots of women”, says Dietrich with a wink of the eye and he grins again. His seasonal job as a youth travel guide fits the picture and he sticks with it even later during his years training to become a qualified restaurateur in Kleinmachnow near Berlin, his home since his childhood. Finally, on one such youth trip, Lübeck appears on the scene in the form of — you’ve guessed it - a woman, his wife who is a native of Lübeck. Today the two of them live in Lübeck, have a small son and Clemens Dietrich has found his passion in life, “Dietrich’s”.


The bar is famous among residents of Lübeck and connoisseurs of the restaurant scene for its extensive range of gins. Around 200 select drops are to be found on the wooden shelves behind the bar which take up the entire wall. “Actually, this specialisation on gin was not planned from the outset. Things just turned out that way because my regular customers asked for more and more varieties”, explains Dietrich who has now started experimenting and even wins international competitors with his outstanding creations. Here the gin is given an infusion of black tea or blended with a cold brew with cocoa beans. The exquisite results are well received by his sophisticated clientèle as is the exceptional service. “The customer is of course king here, and we are his court and want to deliver service to match. After all, nobody wants to be king of a back court(yard)”, says Dietrich in praise of his dedicated team. Everybody works hand-in-hand here with the same objective: pleasure for all the senses with a “drink and serve style” of the highest quality. This aspiration is paying off, and “Dietrich’s” is featured in the most prestigious guides, acting as an ambassador for Lübeck’s young restaurant scene. “The goal along the way? To establish a top world bar in Lübeck and to be mentioned in the same breath as Lübeck marzipan and our UNESCO world heritage status”, states Clemens Dietrich, rolling up his sleeves and paving the way. So raise your glasses to the toast of gin gin!

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