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

1. That Takes the Cake: We've opined in the past on the girl-magnet powers of cupcakes and champagne, but this fact doubles when they're free and doubles again when they're close to the Marina. Women looking for an estrogen bump or guys looking for an estrogen-crazed girl would do well to attend That Takes the Cake's second anniversary party, where fall-flavored cupcakes and bubbly will be gratis. Oh, and congratulations to That Takes the Cake for outliving the tsunami of trend-- two years in business is pretty amazing for a bakery these days. RSVP here. (Thursday, October 22nd, 6-8 pm, at That Takes the Cake, 2271 Union St., Cow Hollow.)

2. Three Seasons "Aftershock" Happy Hour: Also on the Marina beat, we have a questionably tasteful new deal from Three Seasons, in honor of Loma Prieta and the damage it inflicted on the Marina. Offered at the awesomely late window of 8:30 to 10, "Aftershock" is offering half-priced wine by the glass, as well as select half-price bottles of wine and beer. They recommend that you pair the drinks with their "shaking" beef. Um, did anyone tell Three Seasons that people, y'know, died during that earthquake? (Sunday-Thursday, 8:30-10 pm, at Three Seasons, 3317 Steiner St., Marina.)

3. Blues Jean Bar Anniversary: Yet another Marina anniversary: this upscale denim purveyor is both turning five and celebrating a renovated store, complete with "shoe bar." (Kudos to them for realizing that the process of going jeans-shopping really could use some liquid anesthetic.) In honor of these milestones, the shop is giving away free drinks, tacos, and (if you're a guy with a 34-inch waist) free jeans from oneculture. (Thursday, October 22nd, 7-10 pm, at Blues Jean Bar, 1827 Union St., Marina.)

4. Chimay Beer and Cheese Tasting: We're big fans of the suds made by those scrappy Trappist monks, but did you know they make cheese as well? Soluna Lounge offers a rare opportunity to sample the three Chimay beers (red, white, and blue), as well as Chimay's cheese. The price: free. They'll also have DJs spinning "heavy funk, break, and soul," which probably beats ritual chanting. (Monday, October 26th, 6-9 pm, at Soluna Lounge, 272 McAllister St., Civic Center.)

5. The Very Best: This is a bit pricier than our usual offerings, but as die-hard indie-rock types, we think the opportunity to see a freshly minted "Best New Music" band from Pitchfork and enjoy an hour's worth of open bar is probably worth $12. The Very Best aims to "re-write Western pop rules in a language that is not English," and combines two Swedes and a Malawian. Follow their lead and re-write the number of free drinks it's appropriate to quaff in an hour. Tickets are available here. (Friday, October 23rd, open bar 10-11 pm, at 103 Harriet, 103 Harriet St., SOMA.)