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I've seen various versions but not sure what would be an acceptable polite phrase. In Mexico a bartender told me it's "ME DAS un mojito, por favor", in Barcelona a waitress told me I can just say "QUIERO un vino, por favor". Both seem a little too demanding and not polite translated to English so I'm not sure I should be using them.

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There are, of course, many ways to ask for a drink, and most of them will have the same basic result: You receiving a drink.

As you imply, some are more polite than others.

If the bartender has already asked you "¿Qué te gustaría tomar?" (or similar), you can politely respond pretty much as you suggested:

Quiero un vino, por favor.

If you have to approach the bartender/server, then you may want to be a bit more polite.

Disculpa / Perdona. ¿Me traes un vino, por favor?

Or as my wife (who lived in Madrid for 10 years) says would be far more common:

Perdona. ¿Me traes un vinito?

The diminuitive on 'vino' adds some 'kid gloves' to the statement, making it a bit more polite.

She also points out that in Madrid it's uncommon to use usted except when addressing your superior (in age or position), so wait staff would generally not be addressed with usted.

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    You can also say ¿Me pones un vino? – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Jun 27 '15 at 16:48
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    A barman once got angry at me in Spain because I did not address him as usted, but this is indeed quite unusual. You would use usted, nevertheless, at a smart restaurant, and it is always fine to use usted with someone who has previously addressed you as usted. – Gorpik Jun 29 '15 at 11:23
  • "Traer" makes more sense for a waiter, I think, who is bringing something to you at a table. If you're sitting at a bar, then "traer" doesn't work so well. // I think what the OP was asking about mainly was the tone, though. This can vary so much, depending on country, region, ages of the relevant people, etc. – aparente001 Jan 15 '19 at 13:31
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The polite (and I think most common) way is "¿Me pone X, por favor?" being X "un vino", "una coca-cola", "una tapa de jamón". As Flimzy said, if you have to approach the bartender, add "Perdone" before

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  • Un vino, por favor is the most common expression in Madrid. Por favor is enough to be polite. If you like to specify a verb, use poner better than traer: ¿Me pones un vino, por favor? / Ponme un vino, por favor – Ra_ Jan 15 '19 at 14:10

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