How to order in a bar with numbered positions in menu

When I were in Japan and went to some bars, I often saw, that the drinks in menu were numbered, and I also heard someone ordering something from the menu with words “一番”. And so, I started ordering drinks by numbers, for example, if I wanted a drink by number 5, I would say “五番” (also wanted to say something like “おねがいします”, but was not sure, that it was appropriate, when ordering something in a bar). Recently I stumbled upon construction “一番目” in wanikani, which has similar meaning.

And so, now I am confused, what is the right way to order something in a bar with menu, where positions are numbered?


It’s the same as in English; you would probably say “I’ll have number 5” “五番で(お願いします)” instead of “I’ll have the fifth (item)”


And what is the meaning of particle “で” at the end?

I feel like it’s an implied “I’ll take 〜”. Although it might be better to use をお願いします? I found something regarding をお願いします vs でお願いします if you’re interested:

Summary of the article

Basically saying if you say “コーヒーでお願いします” it might sound a little bit like “well, if there’s nothing else, I’ll take a coffee, but I’m not completely satisfied.” You would use it for example if you originally wanted to order cocoa but then you were told they’re out of cocoa, so you settle on coffee with じゃあ、コーヒーでお願いします。
On the other hand コーヒーをお願いします is more straightforward like “I only want coffee and nothing else”.
Notice this trend of preferring を over で is less present in younger generations.

I can’t really say how well this translates into ordering in case of a menu item number. I’d probably still say that if you use a number 五番でお願いします doesn’t sound wrong or impolite or implies this nuance that コーヒーでお願いします has.


You wouldn’t really use that one since menu numbering isn’t exactly using ordinal numbering. For example, 三番目 means the 3rd thing but not necessarily number 3.

Bars are a good place to practice since they’re usually less formal anyway, depending on the bar. Plus, by the end of the night everyone’s probably just slurring out もう一つ anyway. :wink:

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This is off-topic, but I love how many Japanese menus would have a ranking of their bestselling items! :joy: I get having your number one best-seller, but I swear I’ve seen menus with top tens, number one seller for women, kids, etc. It’s not really a thing in my country, so I always found it a little amusing.

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