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

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

1. Giftly Launch Party: Giftly is a new startup that aims to change the way people give and receive gift cards, and they're celebrating by giving the greatest gift of all: free cocktails. Sip on a "new-fashioned" or white wine spritzer, grab a carnitas taco from the El Tonayense truck, and you'll be feeling generous in no time-- which is why they're also offering 7x7 readers $5 off their first purchase at this link. This party is RSVP-only, so go here to sign up. (Thursday, September 8th, 8-10 pm, at Mr. Smith's, 34 7th St., SOMA.)

2. Chinatown Bar Crawl: Chinatown isn't all stir-fry slingers and produce markets; it also conceals a vast, relatively untapped network of good old-fashioned booze. You can finally explore this uncharted territory on this Saturday's Chinatown Bar Crawl; the $10 admission gets you access to such delights as $1 Jello shots, $4 well cocktails, and a $5 giant shot of tequila that includes a free shot glass. Once the crawl is over, they'll take everyone dancing. For more details on the specials, or to buy a ticket, go here. (Saturday, September 10th, 2-6 pm, at Mr. Bing's, 201 Columbus Ave., Chinatown.)

3. Effen Vodka Mixology Competition: Effen, the vodka that appears to have been concocted in a lab for maximum joke potential, is trying to expand its target market to more serious drinkers with an SF-style mixology competition. Bartenders will compete to make the best Effen martini in town, as guests attempt to resist the tractor-beam pull of making Effen puns. The event's held in a gallery, so be sure to check out the art, then cast your vote for your favorite drink. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP here. (Thursday, September 8th, 6:30-9 pm, at Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison St., SOMA.)

4. Blockboard Lower Haight Neighborhood Party: It's always nice to know your neighbors, and Blockboard, a new app, aims to make that happen through the power of the iPhone. They're teaming up with Haighteration to give away free beer at Mad Dog in the Fog, and getting access is simple: show them the app running on your phone, or if you're still in the pre-smartphone era, offer some kind of proof that you live in the Lower Haight. Nothing like free beer to bring neighbors together. RSVP here. (Wednesday, September 14th, 5-7 pm, at Mad Dog in the Fog, 530 Haight St., Lower Haight.)

5. Scoutmob Party at D-Structure: Lower Haight, the apps are coming for you. The folks over at local deals site Scoutmob are also throwing an app party, with free beer and a DJ for anyone who's got the app on their phone or has registered online. Sign up, drink free Widmer brews, and dance to the sounds of DJ Ollie. (Friday, September 9th, 8-11 pm, at D-Structure, 520 Haight St., Lower Haight.)