Buraco do Sapo

A no-fuss boteco with bonus flood barriers

Opening a boteco in Vila Madalena is surely an easy win, with thirsty crowds flocking to the hilly ’hood almost every night of the week. But what about a genuine, cheap, street-corner pé-sujo (down and dirty) bar for locals amid the mass of copycat casas? That’s a bit trickier.

When we stumbled across one such place, the identikit boteco checklist seemed redundant: flashy website? Nope. Website? Negative. Valet parking? Three guesses.

So, what did it have? Cheap beer? Check. Comedy nickname? Absolutely. Buraco do Sapo, or as it’s officially known, 'Riba’s Bar e Lanches', is down a steep slope at the foot of Rua Harmonia, which, in heavy rains, becomes a washout, hence the sobriquet ‘the frog’s hole’.

'We have to grab the chairs and tables from the pavement or everything gets washed away,’ says barman Eudis, pointing out the metre-high metal ‘floodbarrier’ gates which can be slammed shut in the event of tropical downpour. ‘I’ve seen cars washed away!’ says Maria, who is having a Saturday afternoon beer on a sunny afternoon with her lawyer husband ‘Doutor Zé’.

The fried manioc (R$13) is a bit sketchy – OK, it's very sketchy – but we like the friendly all-comers vibe and the availability of seats at busy times. As long as there are no dark, ominous clouds on the horizon, of course.

By Gibby Zobel

Buraco do Sapo details

Address Rua Harmonia 68

Anhangüera, São Paulo

Telephone (11) 3097 0908

Prices 600ml beer R$6; caipirinha R$8

Major cards accepted

Open 6am-9pm Mon-Wed; 6-3am Thu-Sat


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