The Hard Times Handbook - Page 10

Free food, music, and movies. Cheap drinks, dates, and dining. Plus much, much more in our guide to surviving these tough times in style
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Both have led me into inglorious perdition, with dignity, when my chips were down.

Beyond all that, and if you have a couple bucks in your shucks, here's a few get-happies of note:

Godzuki Sushi Happy Hour at the Knockout. Super-yummy affordable fish rolls and $2 Kirin on tap in a rockin' atmosphere. Wednesdays, 6–9:30 p.m. 3223 Mission, SF. (415) 550-6994, www.knockoutsf.com

All-Night Happy Hour at The Attic. Drown your recession tears — and the start of your work week — in $3 cosmos and martinis at this hipster hideaway. Sundays and Mondays, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. 3336 24th St., (415) 722-7986

The Stork Club. Enough live punk to bleed your earworm out and $2 Pabsts every night to boot? Fly me there toute suite. 2330 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 444-6174, www.storkcluboakland.com

House of Shields. Dive into $2 PBR on tap and great music every night except Sundays at the beautiful winner of our 2008 Best of the Bay "Best Monumental Urinal" award. (We meant in the men's room, not the place as a whole!) 39 New Montgomery, SF. (415) 975-8651, www.houseofshields.com

The Bitter End. $3 drafts Monday through Friday are just the beginning at this Richmond pub: the Thursday night Jager shot plus Pabst for five bucks (plus an '80s dance party) is worth a look-see. 441 Clement, SF. (415) 221-9538

Thee Parkside Fast becoming the edge-seekers bar of choice, this Potrero Hill joint has some awesome live nights with cheap brews going for it, but the those in the know misplace their Saturday afternoons with $3 well drinks from 3 to 8 p.m.1600 17th St., SF. (415) 252-1330, www.theeparkside.com

Infatuation. One of the best free club nights in the city brings in stellar electro-oriented talent and also offers two-for-one well drinks, so what the hey. Wednesdays, 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Vessel, 85 Campton Place, SF. (415) 433-8585, www.vesselsf.com

Honey Sundays. Another free club night, this one on the gay tip, that offers more great local and international DJ names and some truly fetching specials at Paradise Lounge's swank upstairs bar. Sundays, 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Paradise Lounge, 1501 Folsom, SF. (415) 252-5018, www.paradisesf.com (Marke B.)

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IMPRESS A DATE WITH DINNER UNDER $50

You've got a date this weekend, which you're feeling pretty good about, but only $50 to spend, which feels ... not so good. Where should you go?

You'll appear in-the-know at the underrated Sheba Piano Lounge (1419 Fillmore, www.shebalounge.com) on lower Fillmore Street, right in the middle of the burgeoning jazz revival district. Sheba was around long before Yoshi's, offering live jazz (usually piano, sometimes a vocalist) and some of the best Ethiopian food in the city in a refined, relaxed lounge setting. Sure, they've got Americanized dishes, but skip those for the traditional Ethiopian menu. Sample multiple items by ordering the vegetarian platter ($13) or ask for a mixed meat platter, which is not on the menu ($16 last time I ordered it). One platter is more than enough for two, and you can still afford a couple of cocktails, glasses of wine or beer, or even some Ethiopian honey wine (all well under $10).