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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. Prospect's Happy Hour: The hip new spot from the Boulevard team is now offering a happy hour-- a great way to sample the fare, as well as the concoctions of mixologist extraordinaire Brooke Arthur (formerly of Range). Sip a coca-tea-infused pisco sour, a glass of the draft wine, or a selected beer for $5, and nosh on bites like fried oysters and pig trotter "tots" with aioli for $4-5. (Monday-Friday, 4-6 pm, at Prospect, 300 Spear St., SOMA.)

2. Mamacita Turns Five: It's anniversary time for the Marina's upscale Mexican joint, and to celebrate, they'll be offering their entire menu for $5, from chilaquiles to carnitas to margaritas. Top-shelf tequila is off the table, however, so don't start eyeing those bottles. (Wednesday, November 10, 5:30-close, at Mamacita, 2317 Chestnut St., Marina.)

3. SF Indie Mart: This iteration of the Indie Mart will be the last of 2010, so get your holiday shopping done early with a selection of SF's latest and greatest artisans. As is the case with all of the previous Indie Mart events, the organizers promise "cheap, good beer," other cocktail specials, and plenty of BBQ. Your $3 admission also includes a hand stamp for the concert/afterparty that evening. (Saturday, November 7, 12-9 pm, at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St., Potrero Hill.)

4. Schmidt's Happy Hour: Feeling like a German beer? Belly up to the bar at Schmidt's new happy hour, where draft brews are a buck off. If you're feeling peckish, they're also offering a sausage plate and .33-liter brew as a $10 combo. (Monday-Friday, 5-7 pm, at Schmidt's, 2400 Folsom St., Mission.)

5. Free Wine at Zingari: If there are hotel-dwelling tourists in your life (and with most locals dwelling in too-tiny-for-guests apartments, there often are), chances are good that you'll end up eating at least one meal in the expensive vortex of Union Square. To ease the pain, consider bringing that aunt or second cousin to Zingari, where they'll provide you with a free bottle of wine if you dine with four or more people on the early or late side. (Daily, 5-6:30 pm and 9-11:30 pm, at Zingari Ristorante, 501 Post St., Union Square.)