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

1. Half-Off at Bar 888 Tonight: Social networking is apparently so popular at Bar 888 that they slash their prices at the mere mention of it. Name-drop Twitter or Facebook and get 50% off your entire bar bill: drinks, bites, the works. It's like a big, Silicon Valley-shaped hug. (Tonight, Thursday, February 25, 11 am-12 am, at Bar 888, Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard St., SOMA.)

2. Filter Noise Pop Party: Noise Pop's crowd of concertgoers always likes to drink without dropping too much cash, so Filter magazine is offering them free "Asian Bulls" (Red Bull and soju) tonight. Join the party, which will also feature a DJ and an advance screening of the new White Stripes concert film. (Tonight, Thursday, February 25, free drinks 5-6 pm and party until 8, at Project 1, 251 Rhode Island St., Potrero Hill.)

3. Bender's Noise Pop Happy Hours: Bender's, one of our favorite bars in the city, is a longtime Noise Pop supporter, and they're showing the love with nightly happy hours featuring bands and booze. Fernet-Branca and Trumer Pils are sponsoring: while we don't know if drinks will be free, they'll most likely be cheaper than usual (and "usual" at Bender's is cheap). Tonight boasts headliners Social Studies, Friday is Hunx and His Punx, and Saturday's band is Odawas. (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, February 25-27, 5-8 pm, and Saturday, February 27, 4-7 pm, at Bender's, 806 South Van Ness Ave., Mission.)

4. Free Indian Appetizers at Gaylord's: We've always been fond of the Italian tradition of offering a little snack buffet with the purchase of a drink (still in practice at Adesso in Oakland), but the idea of combining it with a great Indian tradition, the buffet of fattening goodness, is priceless. Through Friday, buy a $4 beer or $6 well or glass of wine to get access to a free happy-hour spread of pakoras, samosas, naan, and tandoori chicken wings. And they validate parking! (Through Friday, February 26, 4-7 pm, at Gaylord's Indian Restaurant, One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, Financial District.)

5. Tweservation at Coda: The fine folks at Tweservation (the reservation service for those who find OpenTable or a phone too lengthy) are hosting another big happy hour, this time at Coda, the Mission jazz club. Your reservation nets you a free wine, beer, or cocktail, and if you show up between 6 and 7:30, Preston Vineyards will also be doing a wine tasting. There will be live jazz that you can enjoy free from the bar, or sit down for dinner and Tweservation will cover your cover. RSVP (well, Tweserve) here. (Wednesday, March 3, 6-9 pm, at Coda, 1710 Mission St., Mission.)