One of the first things that changed when I tightened my budget was the “going out” line item. My incessant $15 bar tabs were adding up to no good, so I went to my neighborhood liquor store to buy cheap six-packs to stock happy-hour afternoons at Aunt Jennie’s Pub.

But my motivation can stumble. I work from home, and during the daytime hours, I try to transform my shoebox house into a comfortable office space and music studio. When beer-thirty rolls around, it can be a drag to try to turn the space into a comfortable bar area. Friends often arrive as I’m schlepping a kick drum to the garage to make more room for seating.

Which is exactly why I’m grateful for the Lancer Lounge’s Panic Bar, an hour of free wells and drafts on Monday nights from 10-11 p.m. For those of us feeling the recession pinch, the Lancer’s perfect dive atmosphere somehow lends credibility to our budget struggles. I am poor, you will think, squinting into the dimly lit room, and this bar gets me.

The bartenders at the Lancer don’t mess around when they’re slinging free booze, either. Expect some healthy pours that will boil nicely in your gullet and make it readily apparent how the night got its name.