I used to live down the block from a corner shop/liquor store called El Esfuerzo. I always thought the name, which means "effort," was fitting because El Esfuerzo was a lone soldier, a tiny old adobe structure resiliently standing its ground on a street increasingly overrun by concrete giants.
I've noticed that a lot of neighborhood shops in Santiago, including liquor stores (botillerias), have heroic names like this. El Esfuerzo and El Progreso are among the most common. These names probably refer to the hard work of the families who run them or to that of their clients, residents of the middle- and working-class neighborhoods where most businesses with names like this tend to be located (at least I have yet to see an El Esfuerzo in a wealthy area). However, I'm sure shop owners must have considered the fact that some of the beverages they dispense may decrease their clients' esfuerzo and thereby limit their progreso. Maybe that's why some simply avoid the irony and christen their stores with names allusive to sublime states, like El Cielo (Heaven). An (imaginary?) botilleria called El Cielo, dicho sea de paso, inspired the title of a collection of short stories by contemporary Chilean writer Nona Fernandez.
Not all botillerias have epic names, though. While on the bus this evening, I grinned appreciatively at a lighted sign that proclaimed "BOTILLERIA TOO EL RATO." "Todo el rato" (d's between vowels tend to disappear in spoken Chilean Spanish) literally means "all the time" but sometimes is used more like "all the way" or "totally" in informal speech, as in:
Juan: Te gusta La Noche?
Pancha: Claro, po. La Noche to'o el rato!
Too El Rato strikes me as the perfect name for a botilleria because it's a phrase I can see spilling nonstop from the lips of the intoxicated. As for "effort" and "progress"...maybe when the hangover wears off.
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