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Support Our NorCal Brews in the Washington Post's Beer Madness

It's bracket season-- that special time of year when everyone, down to the President himself, is filling out their NCAA tournament picks for the office betting pool. While most of us can't influence the outcome of the Final Four, there's another March faceoff in which everyone gets a say: the Washington Post's annual Beer Madness competition. Last year's Beer Madness spanned the globe, but 2011's tourney is exclusively focused on American craft brews, meaning more of Northern California's finest get to compete.

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. SF Weekly's DRINK Party: This city loves its booze, and SF Weekly is celebrating that fact with its first-ever drinking bash, benefiting the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail and the United States Bartender's Guild. Magnolia, St. George Spirits, Cask, 21st Amendment, Toronado, The Wine Club, and Distillery No. 209 are among the 30+ participants-- and it's an open bar. But wait, there's more! LTB readers get a $20 discount on admission, bringing the cost of a regular ticket to $30 and a VIP pass to $55. Just use the code 7x7 at the event website. (Saturday, March 12, 6-9 pm VIP, 7-9 pm general admission, at the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., Nob Hill.)

2. Johnnie Walker Tasting: Like Scotch? You'll want to get in on Johnnie Walker's series of private tastings, which they're offering gratis multiple times over the course of the weekend. Sign up on their website to get in on the action, but be sure to show up early-- an RSVP doesn't guarantee entry, and spots are limited. (Wednesday, March 9- Saturday, March 12, various times, at Fort Mason Center, Landmark Building A.)

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. Fillmore Mardi Gras: Celebrate Fat Tuesday at the Fillmore's second annual block party, where numerous restaurants will be serving New Orleans-style cuisine and hosting live bands. The drink deals are numerous, including $3 Abitas and $6 Sazeracs at 1300 on Fillmore, 23-ounce pints of Abita SOS for $6 at Fat Angel, $4 and $5 drink specials at Gussie's Chicken and Waffles, and $6 Leblon cachaca cocktails at Sheba Piano Lounge. (Tuesday, March 8, 6 pm-12 am, in the Fillmore District.)

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. Food and Thought: The "Now Playing" series at SFMOMA continues to offer one of the best fusions of cheap drinks, culture, and tasty food in town, with $5 small plates from the likes of Coi and Local: Mission Eatery, an art collaboration with Noise Pop, and complimentary Trumer Pils and Scribe wine. All this can be yours for a half-price museum admission; members get in free. (Thursday, November 24, 6-8 pm, at SFMOMA Rooftop Garden, 151 3rd St., SOMA.)

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.

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. Cocktail College at Bar Adagio: The latest installment of Bar Adagio's Cocktail College is this Thursday, and as always, tuition is free. Ketel One vodka is the sponsor this time around, and drinkers will be able to sample a few vodka cocktails before being set loose to make two of their own. RSVP here. (Thursday, February 10, 6-8 pm, at Bar Adagio, 550 Geary St., Union Square.)

SF Beer Week: Our Top Picks

Beer lovers, rejoice! SF Beer Week is almost here, bringing nine days of suds-related fun and excitement to our fair city. From tastings to brewer meet-and-greets to pairing dinners, there's plenty to see and enjoy over the course of the week, and covering it all would be impossible. To help you navigate the festivities, here are a few events that caught our eye.

Housekeeping note: We've been getting a lot of anxious comments from readers interested in getting in on 7x7's party at Anchor Brewing, but that info isn't ready yet. Look for it on the site soon.

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. Pisco Sour Day at La Mar: This Saturday is Pisco Sour Day, and to celebrate, three local bars that specialize in the Peruvian spirit are offering deals on one of its classic cocktails. La Mar's is made with Pisco Quebranta, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters, and will go for $5 all day on Friday and Saturday. It's a deal that's hard to sour on. (Friday, February 4, 11:30 am-close, and Saturday, February 5, 12 pm-close, at La Mar Cebicheria, Pier 1.5, Embarcadero.)

Get to Know SF's Newest Brewers (And Their Beer)

SF has already cemented its reputation as a great brewing town, the home to Anchor, Magnolia, Social Kitchen & Brewery, 21st Amendment, Speakeasy, and other beloved craft breweries. For nine fledgling breweries, however, the journey is just beginning-- and if getting in on the ground floor is appealing to you, you'll want to mark your calendar for the Bay Area Nanobrewery Festival, to be held as part of SF Beer Week on February 13th.

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. Waterbar and Epic's 3rd Anniversary: The twin titans of the Embarcadero, Waterbar and Epic Roasthouse, are on their way out of the terrible twos. Celebrate with them on Friday afternoon, when all of their usual happy-hour drink offerings will be available for just $3. Three, as it turns out, is the magic number. (Thursday, January 27, 3-6:30 pm, at Waterbar, 399 The Embarcadero, and Epic Roasthouse, 369 The Embarcadero.)

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