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The Russian Bar Experience

I’m sure everyone who has traveled to Russia for work or study has been to a bar or club. Russia, specifically Moscow and St. Petersburg, are known for their diverse nightlife, and even though the club scene has become more…tame…since the lawless 1990s, there are still great bars and clubs to visit. I will leave it to all of you to find a bar or club that you’d like to check out when you venture to the Motherland; however, there are some things that you should know regardless of where you go. That is, you need to know the basics for ordering a drink and bar food. So, I’ve compiled a short and sweet vocabulary list to make your bar-going experience easier!

First of all, you need to know what’s what on the menu:

1) Draught/draft beer = Разливное пиво


2)Bottled beer = Бутылочное пиво


3) Drinks (non-alcoholic) = Напитки


4) Cocktail = Коктейл


5) Dark beer = Тёмное пиво


6) Light/Lager beer = Светлое пиво


Here are some typical bar words/verbs you should know:

1) Appetizers = Закуски


2) Order (n.) = Заказ


3) Order (v.) = Заказывать/заказать


4) Bill/check = Счёт


6) Smoking (prohibited) = Курение (запрещено)


Here is the easiest way to order or ask for something from the bar:

“Can I/May I have….” = “Можно + accusative case”

ex: “May I have a beer, please?” = “Можно пиво, пожалуйста?”


ex: “Can I have another?” = “Можно ещё один/одну/одно?”


ex: “May I have some water?” = “Можно воду?”


ex: “Can I have the check?” = “Можно счёт?”


This is just a short list of important words/phrase to order what you want at a bar. There lots of ways to order, and different phrases often take different grammatical structures. But, if you stick to the above words and simple phrase, you can’t go wrong!

Background on Matt

Matt is a Russian linguist at Foreigncy and lived in Moscow for two years as an English teacher. After leaving Russia, Matt obtained his MA in Russian Studies from University College London-School of Slavonic & East European Studies and spent some time working in political risk analysis. Matt has also spent time in Kiev, Ukraine. Think your Russian is up to par with Matt’s? Take our online Russian quiz here and find out!

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