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Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink for Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, former sf.myopenbar.com editor Allie Pape brings you her picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF. This week: Sympathy for the unemployed, and a bevy of great happy hours. Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

1. Depression 2.0: Even with all the talk about "green shoots," one in ten Californians remains unemployed—including the writer of this column! (Seriously. I'm broke. Drop me a line.) One of the afflicted? Bring your resume to this networking event and get a free drink to help dull the incredible pain of trying to sell yourself when no one's buying. Should you require further dulling, wells and drafts are only $3. RSVP here. (Wednesday, July 15, 5-8 pm, at Mr Smith's, 34 7th St., SOMA.)

2. Two-Dollar Tuesday: The Ambassador is usually a high-class joint, but this deal should appeal to the riff-raff: $2 beers, mixed drinks, and small bites will be on offer this Tuesday. We hear that their mac and cheese is amazing, and at Kraft Dinner prices, it's hard to lose. And it goes all night! Drinkers, converge! (Tuesday, July 21, 6 pm-12 am, at The Ambassador, 673 Geary St., Tenderloin.)

3. Azul Happy Hour: There's no need to feel blue with a four-hour happy hour on the docket, and Azul delivers exactly that, six days a week. $2 Blue Moon drafts, $4 house wine, Svedka drinks, and sangria, and $5 Chimay, plus $3 nibbles, comprise the menu. And it goes until 8 pm! Drinkers, continue to converge! (Monday-Saturday, 4-8 pm, at Azul, 1 Tillman Place, Union Square.)

4. 5A5's Excessive Happiness: The new "steak lounge," probably intended for happier times, deserves credit for aggressively promoting some amazing deals to drum up business. Their standard 5@5 menu is a bit pricey, but good for this class of place: $5 wines, beers, cocktails, and appetizers, including beef carpaccio, chicken yakitori, and a pair of hamachi or oyster shooters. But the real bargain is hidden on Thursday nights: $1 champagne from 9-10. This is a complex set of deals, so check out the specifics here. (Monday-Saturday, 5-7:30 pm, at 5A5, 244 Jackson St., Embarcadero.)

5. RN74 Shots: The fancy-pants new wine bar from Michael Mina apparently isn't afraid to court a wilder crowd after dark. Every day from 10 pm on, they're offering $1 shots of Fernet and $3 Kronenbourgs. Forget the $10 glasses of Bordeaux and Prosecco—these are the real flavors of France and Italy, and they're much more conducive to self-destructive partying. (Daily, 10 pm-close, at RN74, 301 Mission St., SOMA.)