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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. Play Hooky at Chambers: Not really feeling another few hours in the cubicle this afternoon, especially with a legitimate summer day right outside? Fake an upset stomach and head to Chambers, where they'll be dishing up $4 beers, bloody marys, and margaritas around their signature pool all day long. If you're really feeling flush, or can convince the boss to call it an "offsite," $97 buys a cabana room with four pool passes, where you can change, shower, and head to dinner. (Wednesday, September 28, 1 pm-sunset, at Chambers Eat + Drink in the Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St., Tenderloin.)

2. Johnnie Walker Whisky Tastings: This one booked up early last year, so we're putting the word out a week in advance so that readers have a shot. The official announcement on the JW website isn't until midnight tonight, but if it's like last year, it'll be a brief tour in which guests will receive a free tasting of a few of the colors in their rainbow-hued lineup. Head over to their site on Thursday morning to sign up-- these always fill up fast. (Wednesday, October 5-Saturday, October 8, 7 pm, at Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee St., Dogpatch.)

3. Taste and Tweet: Many wine aficionados like to bring a journal for jotting down tasting notes, but why confine your thoughts on terroir to paper when you can share them with the entire Web-- and with the winemaker's blessing, to boot? Napa Valley Vintners has teamed up eight local producers to give you free wine, provided you take to your smartphone and tell everyone else while you drink it. RSVP here. (Monday, October 3, 6-8 pm, at Nectar Wine Lounge, 330 Steiner St., Marina.)

4. Happy Hour at Thee Parkside: With gorgeous weather forecasted both today and tomorrow, we thought we'd remind readers of two of the best happy hours at locales with outdoor patios. This punk space in Potrero Hill is usually undertrafficked when there's not a show, and their patio area is gigantic-- which means you'll find plenty of places to sit while you sip on the $1.50 Budweisers available on Wednesdays or the five-for-$10 buckets of beer they offer each Thursday. (Daily, 2-7 pm, at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St., Potrero Hill.)

5. Happy Hour at Americano: This Embarcadero spot is famous for its happy hour, thanks to a huge outdoor patio with a great view of the hustle and bustle at the Ferry Building. Sip on $3 beer, $5 glasses of wine, or $5 well cocktails as you take in the bridge and the bay-- and don't forget to seek out the free antipasti. (Saturday-Wednesday, 3-6 pm, at Americano, 8 Mission St., Embarcadero.)