If São Paulo is the capital of the North East, as the saying goes, then Casa do Norte is its embassy. At this boteco near the state university USP, you’ll find a unique mix of nordestino diaspora, from the punters to the four owners, who hail from Ceará in the North East. ‘We’re all from the same city, we’ve known each other since childhood,’ says Pedro, one of the four. ‘We bought the bar from samba musician Martinho da Vila.’
And music, with live MPB and sertanejo most nights of the week, is as much a part of the ambience as the North-Eastern tokens that pepper the interior: murals show off a forró accordion player and baianas in Salvador, while a cacophany of hats, lamps and slings hang from the ceiling.
Bottles of cachaça line an entire wall: look out for comedy names and labels, like 'Pinga na Bunda', adorned with a round bottom in a dental-floss bikini. But perhaps the greatest credit should be given to the nordestino cuisine: extensive, generous and cheap as manioc chips.
Follow the greasy but perfect pleasure of torresmo pururuca (pork scratchings) with an arrumadinho – a mountain of dried beef, rice, beans, farofa (mandioc flour) and vinagrete. Those made of sterner stuff can go for sarapatel (pork sweetmeats) or a joelho de porco (pig’s knee).
This review was published as part of the Time Out Boteco Detective series, searching for the best down-to-earth bars in São Paulo.