The word boteco (or botequim /butiquim) is derived from the Portuguese word botica (bodega in Spanish), which is itself derived from the the Greek word Apotheke – meaning a place or store where goods are sold.
However, if in Portugal a botica was a place of storage, in Brazil a boteco evolved into becoming the place where you go for a beer. In other words botecos are the Brazilian equivalent of a pub.
Where can you find botecos?
Brazilian botecos, like pubs in the UK, are ubiquitous and can usually be found on most street corners around the country.
Botecos do not discriminate, regardless of social class or standing and you can find them in most parts of Brazilian cities, from the favelas to the most ‘chic’ (or chique as Brazilians like to say) neighbourhoods. Unlike bars they do not charge entrance fees or add service charges, and there’s certainly no dress code.
What are they like?
Well, like pubs it varies, although there tends to be a ‘typical’ type of both.
For example, at one end of the pub continuum you have the rough locals-only boozer where you can buy stolen DVD players for a tenner, whilst at the other there are poncey gastropubs serving gourmet burgers for £15 (excluding chips).
Avoid both where possible.