It takes a special level of dedication to clock out right at 5 p.m. and head out for drinks. It is also a time-honored American tradition. Last year, we broke down our favorite happy hour spots by neighborhood. This year, we're paring the list down to our 10 favorite places for the early-evening budget drinker.

Every bar in the Castro
Just walking through the Castro on any given weeknight is likely to make you feel drunk, let alone walking in any one of a dozen venues where drinks are extremely cheap during the hours known as happy. In order to stay competitive amongst local alcoholics, all the bars in the 'hood do either $3 well drinks or 2-for-1 cocktails before 8 or 9 p.m. daily. At Badlands, you will be handed your two vodka sodas with a side of Britney Spears. At Q Bar you will get 2-for-1 anything, even top-shelf vodka soda. At 440, they start the drink specials at noon, and on Tuesdays all beer is $2, all day and night. At Hi Tops and Blackbird, well drinks are 3 bucks before 8 p.m., but you may be tempted to order one of the nicer mixed beverages off the menu, and those are all full price. Some of these bars hand out wooden nickels that are good for free drinks, but some of these bars only accept said wooden nickels during happy hours. In any event, if you're unemployed or generally in need of bargain boozing, the Castro has you covered. Just try to head home before you can't walk on your own. —Jay Barmann


Celia's by the Beach
Described by one local food writer as "the La Rondalla of the West Side," Celia's by the Beach is a piece of San Francisco history that comes with loads of melted cheese, salt on the rim, and a dangerous happy hour. From 4:30-6 p.m. (they're closed on Mondays), enjoy $2 canned beer, $3 bottled beer, $4 drafts (what are you, fancy?) and $5 well drinks. Tequila flights and apps are a buck off, but the chips and salsa come copious and free. There always seems to be some sort of margarita special going on, too, check the board on your way in. The crowd is a sometimes-volatile mix of longtime Outer Sunset residents, members of the area's new hipster wave, SF State kids hoping not to get carded, and foodies waiting for a seat at Outerlands. Taco Tuesdays can be uncomfortably packed (that's when tacos are $1 and margs are $4), it might be worth the extra couple of bucks to go any other night. — Eve Batey
4019 Judah (between 45th and 46th Avenues)

The bar at Uva Enoteca. (Photo: Joseph Lubushkin)

UVA Enoteca
UVA is on our list for the second year in a row for good reason, as it's still one of the best deals around. From 5-6:30 Monday-Thursday and 3-6:30 Saturday and Sunday, cans of beer (but they pour it into a glass, so you still feel all grown up) are $2, petite carafes of wine are $5, and there's a limited (and cheap!) selection of pizza, pasta and nibbly things to soak it all up. Get their early—UVA's prime seats at their lovely marble bar fill up fast. — Eve Batey
568 Haight (at Steiner)

The Mucky Duck
This Inner Sunset dive isn't for amateurs—this place has a crowd that rolls in at 11 a.m. and sticks around for the day. By the time you arrive for their happy hour, the regulars are at optimum friendliness and warmth. The service is just as pleasant: for example, the bartender who answered the phone when we called to confirm happy hour prices asked "you coming down?" then seemed genuinely disappointed when we told her that our query was for journalistic purposes only. Though the Duck has a rotating list of specials, happy hour celebrants enjoy $3 Buds or PBRs and $4 well drinks or "select microbrews" 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. — Eve Batey
1315 9th Avenue between Irving and Judah

photo: Erik Wilson

Columbus Cafe
On paper, Columbus Cafe's happy hour is simple: Seven days a week, from 4-8 p.m., draft beers are two for the price of one. You buy one beer, you get a poker chip to cash in for the second. The chips are redeemable until 9 p.m. any day of the week, for as long as the bar is open—meaning savvy socializers can effectively extend their happy hours and chip-hoarding regulars can get absolutely slammed for next to nothing. —Andrew Dalton
562 Green (at Columbus)

Local rock cod tacos at Bar Crudo. (Photo: Jennifer Yin/SF Beer Week)

Crudo's oyster, chowder and fish taco happy hour made last year's list and it's still one of the best deals in town for a cheap date or a change from your usual divey after work haunts. Happy hour is 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday and weekend evenings tend to have folks outside waiting for the doors to open right at 5. —Andrew Dalton
655 Divisadero (at Grove)

(Photo: Curtis Locke)

Elbo Room
Claiming to have San Francisco's longest happy hour from 5-9 p.m., the Elbo Room deserves a mention for $2 special draft beers, discount cocktails and a bank of pinball machines that you can use to take out the day's aggression. —Andrew Dalton
647 Valencia (at Sycamore)

photo: Erik Wilson

Tunnel Top
After work, dip out of Union Square and head to the top of the Stockton Tunnel where the beers are $3 and the lights are dim. Get there early for a seat in the window on the second floor mezzanine and dip out before the DJ comes on and things get noisy. —Andrew Dalton
601 Bush (between Stockton and Burritt)

(Photo: The Riptide)

The Riptide
Another two-time winner, the Riptide gets points for "honest drink specials" from 4 - 7 p.m. and no-nonsense free food like hot dog Tuesdays, nacho Wednesdays and DIY grilled cheese Thursdays. In other words: the same munchies you'd be shoving in your face if you were drinking alone at home. —Andrew Dalton
3639 Taraval (at 47th Avenue)

Mission Rock Resort (photo credit: Joe M. /Yelp)

Mission Rock Resort
On days like today, especially, you want to be sitting out on a deck, sipping cold beer and slurping oysters, and this is the place for that. At happy hour (3 to 7 p.m.), Mission Rock Resort has four hours worth of 99-cent oysters, as well as $5 draft beers, and $6 cocktails and wine. You won't find a more sun-drenched and relaxing spot, assuming you score one of the tables on the deck, and it makes for a perfect pit stop before a Giants game. - Jay Barmann
817 Terry A Francois Blvd (between Mariposa and 16th Street)

Honorable mention: The Sycamore for fancy drafts, board games and free WiFi; Mission Bar for cheap drinks; Owl Tree for Costco Charcuterie and mingling with tourists; Sugar Lounge for a free mini-buffet; and literally every place on last year's list is still a strong contender for best place to take your afterwork drinking.

Celia's house margarita photographed by Cathy K/Yelp