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Dining in New Orleans ... On the cheap

Bars and restaurants help customers who are low on funds with cheap food that's worth eating

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You might be broke and fresh out of Groupons but can't face eating scrambled eggs for the fourth night in a row. Or maybe you just want something cheap to snack on while boozing. Either way, there are some bars and restaurants around town that can help you out with free — or really cheap — food that isn't just red beans and rice (OK, sometimes it's red beans and rice). Here's how to get your fill without resorting to dumpster diving or getting banned by Whole Foods for grabbing too many samples.

  • The American Sector at The National World War II Museum (945 Magazine St., 528-1940; www.nationalww2museum.org/american-sector) offers its barbecued beef sliders for 75 cents during the restaurant's daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with half-price draft beers and other drink specials.

  • Banks Street Bar & Grill (4401 Banks St., 486-0258; www.banksstreetbar.com) has free red beans and rice on Mondays at 7 p.m. Also, most Wednesdays, the blues band Major Bacon plays and brings along free BLTs starting at 10 p.m.

  • Fortify yourself for a night of dancing to Treme Brass Band at Candlelight Lounge (925 N. Robertson St., 525-4748) with free red beans and rice. The Treme destination does sometimes charge a cover of $5 to $10 at the door.

  • Handsome Willy's (218 S. Robertson St., 460-7365; www.handsomewillys.com) showcases seasonal offerings and selections from its catering menu by serving free food on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Past meals have featured crawfish, boiled shrimp, Cuban sandwiches and jerk chicken.

  • On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the cozy Il Posto Cafe (4607 Dryades St., 895-2620; www.ilpostocafe-nola.com) has a happy hour featuring free appetizers and beer and wine specials. The cafe calls them "light" appetizers, but the spread, which has included snacks like bruschetta and roasted Brussels sprouts, can be pretty filling.

  • The perennial favorite of foodie freeloaders is the Hare Krishna Love Feast at International Society for Krishna Consciousness (2936 Esplanade Ave., 486-3583; www.iskcon-nola.org). The temple serves vegetarian Indian food to the public from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; no Krishna conversion required.

  • Mick's Irish Pub (4801 Bienville St., 482-9113) offers free food four days a week at its neighborhood bar. On Mondays there's red beans and rice, Tuesdays bring hot dogs, Thursdays have ham and cheese and turkey and cheese sandwiches, and Fridays feature a rotating choice of soup.

  • Molly's at the Market (1107 Decatur St., 525-5169; www.mollysatthemarket.net), which serves bar food from its Munch Kitchen, has $1 tacos on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  • Pal's Lounge (949 N. Rendon St., 488-7257) offers free or cheap food every day of the week. On Mondays, Thursdasy, Saturdays and Sundays, the bar offers free food to people who are drinking: Mondays feature red beans and rice, Thursdays there's pasta, Saturdays are chili dogs and Sundays feature macaroni and cheese. Tacos are two for $2 on Tuesdays, hot wings are five for $1 on Wednesdays and sloppy joes are $1 on Fridays.

  • Rendezvous Tavern (3101 Magazine St., 891-1777) hosts a free buffet of Indian food from Nirvana restaurant on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The food is usually gone by 6 p.m., but during football season — when the bar is thronged during New Orleans Saints games — the food runs out faster.

  • Twelve Mile Limit (500 S. Telemachus St., 488-8114; www.facebook.com/twelve.mile.limit), where regular offerings include quality barbecue, macaroni and cheese, mini doberge cakes and craft cocktails, has a free "family meal" on Mondays. Past spreads have included barbecued chicken, pizza, pasta and curry. The meal starts at 7 p.m., and owner Cole Newton says the food usually is gone by 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

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