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As you learn Russian, one of the most important things you will learn is how to ask for something you want. The aim of lesson 4 is to enable you to buy things when you are in Russia. With just a few phrases you should be able to manage in Russian bars or cafes. In this lesson we will not introduce any grammar concepts. The lesson will focus on helping you to learn some new basic Russian phrases.
Finding a cafe
After a busy day in Russia, you might be looking for somewhere to have a drink. You could ask people with the following phrases.
Скажите, пожалуйста.... - Tell me please....
Скажите, пожалуйста, где кафе? - Tell me please, where is a cafe?
Скажите, пожалуйста, где бар? - Tell me please, where is a bar?
Russian does not use the articles “a” or “the”, so the phrase “Где кафе?” means both “where is a cafe?” and “where is the cafe?”. It will probably sound more natural to ask where the nearest café is.
Скажите, пожалуйста, где ближайшее кафе? - Tell me please, where is the nearest cafe?
On the Menu
If you were in a Russian bar or café, here are some words you might see on the menu:
Меню - Menu
Кофе - Coffee
Чай - Tea
Молоко - Milk
Кока-Кола - Coca-Cola
Лимонад - Lemonade
Сок - Juice
Борщ - Russian beetroot soup
Суп - Soup
Торт - Cake
Водка - Vodka
Пиво - Beer
Вино - Wine
Вода - Water
минералка с газом - Mineral water (with gas)
минералка без газа - Mineral water (without gas)
When you ask for water is a bar it's best to ask for mineral water (минералка). If you simply ask for water (вода), it will sound like you are asking for tap water, which is not normal in Russia. When you ask for mineral water you should specify if you want it still or sparkling (с газом/без газа).Be careful, when you order vodka in russia, you will generally get straight vodka.
Do you have...?
If you want to ask someone if they have something, you can use the following phrase. (Just learn the whole phrase, it is gramatically unusual).
У вас есть ....? - Do you have ....? (formal)
У вас есть кофе? - Do you have coffee?
У вас есть чай? - Do you have tea?
У вас есть водка? - Do you have vodka?
Please give me
When you decide what you will have you will need to order. Here are some Russian phrases you might need, or be asked:
Что? ("shto?") - What?
Что вы хотите? - What do you want?
Я хочу ... - I want...
Дайте, пожалуйста .... - Give me please...
Сколько стоит? - How much is it?.
Я буду - I will have...
Я буду кофе с молоком и сахаром. - I will have coffee with milk and sugar.
Я буду чай. - I will have tea.
Я буду минералку без газа. - I will have mineral water (without gas).
Дайте, пожалуйста, чай. - Please give me tea.
Дайте, пожалуйста, кофе - Please give me coffee.
Дайте, пожалуйста, кофе с молоком - Please give me coffee with milk.
Дайте, пожалуйста, кофе с молоком и с сахаром - Please give me coffee with milk and sugar.
What is it?
Some short but useful Russian phrases to ask what things are...
Что это? - What is it?
Это кофе. - It is coffee.
Простите, это кофе. - Excuse me, is it coffee?
Нет, это чай. - No, it is tea.
The word "Сколько?" means "how much?" or "how many" in Russian. You can use it to ask the price of something.
Сколько? - How much? / How many?
Сколько стоит? - How much does it cost?
двадцать один рубль - 21 rubles.
How do you say?
Another very useful phrase is “how do you say?”. It will allow you to learn more Russian words by actually speaking Russian. Here are some useful phrases...
Как сказать "...." по-русски? - How do you say "...." in Russian?
Что значит "...." на английском? - What does "...." mean in English?
Where is the toilet...?
To finish up this lesson here is a Russian phrase to help you find out where a toilet is.
Скажите, Пожалуйста , Где Туалет - Tell me please, where is the toilet?
The mens toilets are normally labeled with an "M".
The ladies toilets are normally labeled with a "Ж".
Use this video to practice some phrases that you may need or hear in a cafe or bar. Take me to YouTube.
Click Here for Part 2 (YouTube)
This has been a shorter Russian lesson. However these Russian phrases should be helpful next time you are in a Russian café or bar. You may wish to try some of the exercises. In the next lesson we will introduce verbs and pronouns, and you will be able to start constructing your own sentences.
If you would like to expand your Russian vocabulary now, try learning some of the words from our food vocabulary section.