Students, post-grads and those perpetually out of pocket money can enjoy the bait of special deals from a number of bars and restaurants. For students, a good place to start is printing grab coupons for campus-area restaurants from www.campusmenus.com. You'll also find food and drink specials within walking distance from your dorm.
If you have a little bit of scratch to spare, Finn McCool's Irish Pub (3701 Banks St., 486-9080; www.finnmccools.com) in Mid-City specializes in getting bang out of your buck. Whatever the occasion — international soccer matches, Treme-watching parties, anniversary of the Titanic disaster — Finn McCool's has a complementary (and often complimentary) dish. Look for Irish stews, shepherd's pie and fish and chips, as well as barbecue shrimp and fried chicken (for Treme viewing parties), and buffets (recently there was a $10 Indian buffet).
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The city's Monday tradition is recognized at many bars. You'll find $2 red beans and rice at Hi-Ho Lounge (2239 St. Claude Ave., 945-4446; www.hiholounge.net) and free bowls of it at Banks Street Bar (4401 Banks St., 486-0258; www.banksstreetbar.com), Mick's Irish Pub (4801 Bienville St., 482-9113) and Pal's Lounge (949 N. Rendon St., 488-7257). Grab a $1 domestic longneck beer from Theo's (4024 Canal St., 302-1133; 4218 Magazine St., 894-8554; www.theospizza.com) to wash it all down. (The pizza joints also pour $1 pints on Tuesdays.)
You don't have to be a brain to grab a plate (or two, and a bowl for curry) at Bridge Lounge (1201 Magazine St., 299-1888; www.bridgeloungenola.com) during its Tuesday night trivia contest. Pay $5 for the all-you-can-eat buffet (as long as there's food to go around, and you haven't overstayed your welcome). Tacos, barbecue, curry, pasta, salads, hot dogs and vegetarian dishes — it has you covered. The bar also is home to what may be one of the cheapest High Life specials left in the city ($2, and beer prices go up from there). More on the veggies-and-trivia tip: In June, The Wandering Buddha dishes up vegetarian and vegan Korean food at Hi-Ho Lounge during Tuesday night music trivia (around 9:30 p.m.). Fill up on bibimbap, kimchi, scallion pancakes, Korean sliders and other dishes for $10 a plate. Wash it all down with a $2 beer pitcher from Reginelli's (at any of its locations).
Snack on free appetizers while sipping cheap drinks ($2 Abitas, $4 mimosas) during Il Posto Cafe's (4607 Dryades St., 895-2620; www.ilpostofcafe-nola.com) happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The cafe offers cheeses, olives, roasted Brussels sprouts and other gourmet bar snacks and desserts. Still hungry? Banks Street Bar has free BLT sandwiches (perfect noshing to go with the music hall's "no cover charge" policy).
If you can't shell out $20 for a full pie, grab a slice (cheese and pepperoni only) without a wait at Pizza Delicious (3444 N. Rampart St., 676-8482; pizzadelicious.blogspot.com), which opens at 5 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays only. The pop-up pizza joint has massive, New York-style, perfectly crispy slices for $2 (cheese) and $2.50 (pepperoni). At Wit's Inn (141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600; www.witsinn.com) order a 10-inch one-topping pizza for $5 on Thursdays. Not in the mood for pizza? Order $2 tacos at Rusty Nail (1100 Constance St., 525-5515; www.therustynail.biz).
For an after-dinner drink, Cork & Bottle (3700 Orleans Ave., Suite 1C, 483-6314; www.cbwines.com) hosts free wine tastings every Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Bonus: Grab some inexpensive snacks (or sample them) from local vendors at the Crescent City Farmers Market, open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. just steps from Cork & Bottle.
Enjoy the patio — in the middle of the downtown medical district — outside Handsome Willy's (218 S. Robertson St., 525-0377; www.handsomewillys.com) for Funk & Crunk Fridays. The bar's catering service offers free food from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., whether it's ice cream, a crawfish boil, chicken and sausage gumbo, hot dogs, smoked ribs and more — with Jell-O (in shot form) for dessert.
Rendezvous Tavern (3101 Magazine St., 891-1777) serves free Indian food from Nirvana on Sundays — fill a plate with samosas and rice dishes.
But the week's piece de resistance for frugal diners is the Hare Krishna Love Feast at International Society for Krishna Consciousness (2936 Esplanade Ave., 486-3583; www.iskconneworleans.org), the 30-year-old weekly event, serving vegetarian Indian food from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dancing, chanting, prayer services and inviting vibes surround the "by donation" vegetarian dining experience. It's also busy with travelers, broke students and neighbors — so you can make a few friends.