25 comments on “Botecos: Like going for a beer in your bathroom

  1. I remember the first time a waiter tried to take your beer away…you were like ‘no, no, i haven’t quite finished that’ and he looked shocked hahaha
    I love botecos, but I guess I prefer pubs now 🙂

  2. You should visit “Boteco do Zoio”, in Paulista ave., right next to the Brigadeiro Subway Station.

      • Well, the waiter who “lends his name” to the bar (the place is actually called “Dominiu’s”) is that “one of a kind” guy. He has that agressive-but-funny behaviour we just love to see on places like these. You can’t miss him — it’s the guy with the thick glasses (hence “Zoio”, some sort of nickname given to people with bulged eyes, a side effect from using thick glasses, methinks) screaming, dancing to nonexistent songs and hitting on random girls who happen to pass by. 🙂

  3. There’s a boteco with no name close to the Brigadeiro underground station (green line). It is located on the corner of Alameda Santos and Rua Manoel da Nobrega. The boteco itself has a narrow entrance, but you can find tables all over the sidewalk. So don’t waste your time trying to find a table inside once is much better staying outside. However, there are no roofing or canopies, so avoid it in raining days.

    Beers (600ml bottles – Original, Skol e Brahma) have a fair price and you MUST try the COSTELA (rib cuts) and CUPIM (ox-hump).

    Definitely it worth a try!


  4. Andy vou te levar no Malkovich na Augusta (não sabemos o nome do bar, acho que ele nem tem nome) mas ele tem meio banheiro só, que nem no filme I wanna be John Malkovich

  5. great essay about a “pé sujo”!!

    a friend’s father used to say: “botequim is the most democratic place in brazil. there doesn’t matter who you are everybody is treated equally…”

    • It’s very true and the same with pubs. My Dad’s old local in London had a mix of people – builders, solicitors, consultants, shop workers, teachers, social workers, etc. As long as you got your round in you were fine!

  6. Cacilda and Dona Felicidade (both on Rua Tito)
    Lapinha (Rua Coriolano)
    Bar da Dona Onça, at Edifício Copan, Downtown
    Astor, São Christovão, Pirajá and Zepellin in Vila Madalena
    Bar Estadão (Viaduto Maria Paula)
    and so many others…

  7. I’ve only been to one boteco, Boteca 98 in Botofoga, Rio de Janerio. It was the first “bar” I went with my friends after arriving in Rio for Carnaval last year. Since it was almost right across the street from my friends apartment, we ate there quite a bit. One night I had ribs cooked with garlic and it still makes my mouth water thinking about them.

    One thing that was interesting to me, was when we ordered more bottles, we took the empties and placed them on the ground. At the end of the night, the waiter just counted the empties on the ground to calculate how many we had.

    • The bottle counting is pretty standard and is actually quite preferable because I’ve lost count of the number of botecos I’ve been to where the waiter has brought back the bill wrong because – presumably – they just guessed how many we’d drunk!

  8. I have to say, I loved your article.
    It’s funny how most of the characteristics you mentioned could have been seen as bad ones, but they are the very reason we love those places.

    There’s a place almost at the bottom of Augusta (past the ‘puteiros’ xD) where I traditionally go with my friends and we used to call it “Podrão” (something like “rotten”… you can guess why), and our tradition was to open the night with a shot of Velho Barreiro cachaça… but the bastards never gave us a normal shot, it was almost like a regular glass of water, a full CUP of cachaça… and we would drink it all at once.

    I don’t recommend it. hehe

    • Hey Leonardo, thanks!

      Cachaça sends a shiver down my spine – but to be fair so do most spirits. I’ll have to check out the boteco though, although there’s probably a good chance I’ve been there already!

  9. Hi Andy, only now I read this post and noticed you’re not quite into spirits…

    About the names of ‘botecos’, engaging with my other comment, elsewhere on this blog, from my personal experience being a lover of botecos since before being legally allowed to drink, I believe most of them go by their nicknames rather than by their ‘official’ names. These nicknames are most commonly the owner’s own name or nickname.

    Some other botecos are usually referred to by their address or in relation to any well-known landmark or building. For instance, it is quite common to arrange a session with your friends ‘at that boteco on the corner of this and that streets’; or ‘at that boteco in front of this or that building’. (Estadão is a fine example of a boteco whose nickname became official — the Jaraguá Hotel, opposite the boteco, used to be Estado de S. Paulo’s HQ before they moved to Marginal Tietê…)

    As for my personal boteco recommendation: my favourite drinking place in the entire world in Kintaro, this ridiculously tiny boteco at R. Tomáz Gonzaga 57 in Liberdade, a five-minute walk from the Metro station… it is run by a Japanese-Brazilian family: a mother who stays during the day and prepares all the delicious food they sell, and two sumo-wrestling brothers who run the place at night. One of them defines their food jokingly as ‘fusion cuisine’, as what they serve ranges from your regular ‘boteco’ food such as torresmo (pork scratchs), fried cassava and pastel, to Japanese-style aubergines fried with miso paste and ginger, delicious pork chops with miso and this tangy vegetable known as chingensai, among other delicacies. In winter they serve oden, a kind of stew containing raddish, algae, tofu, eggs and other stuff.

    Ambience-wise it is definitely a pé-sujo, albeit slightly more expensive. Food portions cost R$ 10 each (but some of the stuff they serve you can’t find anywhere else) and beer bottles are R$ 9 (Original and Serramalte only). Also they only take cash.

    If you’re interested, I’d be more than glad to share a couple beers with you around there, just let me know.

    • I think I may have been to that boteco. I’ve definitely been to one or two on that street, as well as one of the restaurants. Liberdade is very cool!

      Not sure if you saw but I’m moving to Peru at the end of this month, but I’m back for the World Cup so maybe we’ll catch that beer then!

      • Nope, I didn’t see it! Did you find a job in Peru? Seems like a nice country. I guess Brazilians have very little knowledge about what goes on in its Andean neighbours. Last May I spent a week in Quito and I was surprised both at how little I knew about Ecuador (and Colombia, since I met many Colombians there) and at how beautiful and amazing those countries really are.

        It’s a shame I only met your blog now. I hope you have a great life in Peru, and rest assured that São Paulo will always welcome you back with open arms.

      • Yeah, just a short-term job. I think we’re probably going to move back to London at the end of this year so the World Cup will be my last time in SP for a while 😦

      • Well, whenever you catch yourself missing São Paulo, just think of the pavements and that longing will certainly fade away!

        Should you go for a last beer around Liberdade this month, if you see a 1.93m tall, bearded white guy wearing round glasses, there’s a 95% it’s me, feel free to be as nosy as a good Brazilian would! But I can’t answer for the other 5%…

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