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. Two Special Drink Events at Txoko: Txoko is now a few months into its stint in the old Enrico's space in North Beach, and its Basque fare and relaxed atmosphere have earned acclaim from our own Carolyn Alburger. They're doing a lot of celebrating: This Wednesday, Txoko's throwing a Pisco Porton happy hour, with $6 cocktails like the Elevation (pisco, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur) and the Jabber (pisco, sherry, Lillet blanc, orange bitters, lemon oil), as well as a classic Pisco Sour. For $12, you'll get your choice of cocktail and two bites: mussels with romesco and crispy potatoes, and a wild-mushroom empanada. The first 50 ladies to arrive will receive a drink on the house, too. Next Tuesday, they'll celebrate National Punch Day, with two punches and two cocktails made with Bols Genever going for just $6 a glass. Fish and chips, fried green tomatoes, and arroz with corn will all be $6 as well. (Pisco: Wednesday, September 14th, 5:30-7:30 pm; Punch: Tuesday, September 20th, 5:30-7:30 pm, at Txoko, 504 Broadway, North Beach.)

2. Barrel-Aged Release Party at Zero Zero: Though it's known for pizza, Zero Zero also has a pretty serious cocktail program, as evidenced by its latest project: a barrel-aged white Manhattan. The staff combined Portland-based House Spirits' White Dog whiskey with Dolin vermouth, Benedictine, and Peychaud's bitters, then aged the whole concoction in an oak bourbon barrel. The resulting cocktail debuts in 2 weeks, where guests can quaff it for half price-- only $6 per drink. (Thursday, September 29th, 5-7 pm, at Zero Zero, 826 Folsom St., SOMA.)

3. White Summer Nights: In honor of Jillian Costello, a UC Berkeley rower who died of lung cancer at only 22, her friends and teammates are throwing a party to benefit cancer research on the rooftop of the W Hotel. Guests are encouraged to dress entirely in white, and hot young Cal athletes (including an Olympic gold medalist) will do double duty as servers. The $35 admission gets you access to an open Svedka vodka bar from 8-9 pm, and all the proceeds will go to Jill's Legacy, a charity founded in Costello's honor. Tickets are here. (Friday, September 16th, 8-11 pm, at W Hotel, 181 3rd St., SOMA.)

4. Happy Hour at Passion Cafe: Now that we're deep into the San Francisco version of summer, knowing about a few good happy-hour spots with outdoor spaces never hurts. If you can take a deep breath and muscle your way down grungy 6th Street, Passion Cafe will reward you with its enormous rooftop deck, which offers a great view of Downtown. And the drink prices don't hurt, either: $3 Stella and sangria and $5 Bloody Marys, mojitos, and Kir Royales are all on offer, as are $5 charcuterie and cheese plates. (Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 pm, at Passion Cafe, 28 6th St., SOMA.)

5. Inside Network Happy Hour: If you're an app developer attending the Facebook f8 conference next week, consider checking out a pre-event happy hour sponsored by Inside Network, a networking firm for app-development types. They'll be taking over Mercury Lounge, with free drinks, to boot-- all you have to do is RSVP here. (Wednesday, September 21st, 5:30-8:30 pm, at Mercury Lounge, 1582 Folsom St., SOMA.)

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