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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. Harlem at the Ambassador: Though the name may bring to mind New York's struggling neighborhood, this Harlem is actually a Dutch drink that resembles Jagermeister. The brand managers have been handing out samples guerrilla-style to folks around town (just a few weeks ago, we were unexpected recipients in a neighborhood bar), but they're making a scheduled stop to give away free shots and Harlem-Red Bull mixers at the Ambassador this Friday. After 11, you can get the Harlem Red Bulls for $5-- a great drink or alternate-universe sports-team name. (Friday, March 19, free drinks 9-11 pm, at The Ambassador, 673 Geary St., Tenderloin.)

2. Dubonnet Happy Hours: Another liquor that wants you to remember its name, Irene Cara-style, is Dubonnet, a French aperitif. To get bartenders and patrons jazzed about their product, they're hosting two happy hours with $1 drinks: Coda takes the helm on Wednesday, while Bruno's will be the host on Thursday. Each restaurant's bar will mix up a classic Dubonnet Cocktail with gin and bitters, as well as a Dubonnet drink of their own creation, and one drinker will receive a $500 gift certificate to the host restaurant. You may also learn how to fly, but we're not making any promises. (Wednesday, March 24, 5:30-7:30 pm, at Coda, 1710 Mission St., Mission. Thursday, March 25, 5:30-7:30 pm, at Bruno's, 2389 Mission St., Mission.)

3. Show Dogs Shindig: The sausage-slingers at Show Dogs are making 6th Street better, one hot dog at a time. A $20 ticket to their spring party buys unlimited samples of gourmet sausage and glasses of Lagunitas IPA, Scrimshaw pilsner, and 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat, and all the profits go to support the San Francisco City Academy, located two blocks away. Great deal + great cause + spring-fever cure? We're there. (Thursday, March 25, 6-8 pm, at Show Dogs, 1020 Market St., Mid-Market.)

4. Drink Me Magazine Party: The fine folks at Drink Me, a magazine devoted to (you guessed it) booze, want you to come out and help them celebrate. They're taking over Coda (which is increasingly becoming an all-star in the LTB playbook, with three events in a mere two weeks), and with a $4 cover, you'll be treated to live funk and soul music, $4 beer, $5 cocktails, $4 wine, and good spirits. Thanks to a respectably late start time, you can easily hit this event after #s 2 and/or 3. (Thursday, March 25, 9 pm, at Coda, 1710 Mission St., Mission.)

5. Chaya's All-Night Happy Hour: The happy hour at pan-Asian Chaya Brasserie on the Embarcadero is long-beloved by after-work crowds; it's pricier than most, but the food and atmosphere merit the bump. Now, they've made it better by extending it to the whole night, every night. $5.50 cocktails, $4.50 drafts, $8.50 mussels, $6 chicken satay, us swooning. (Monday-Friday, 4 pm-close, Saturday-Sunday, 5 pm-close, at Chaya Brasserie, 132 The Embarcadero, Embarcadero.)