The place: Grand Cafe, 501 Geary (at Taylor), 292-0101
The hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-7 p.m.
The deals: A wide array of snacks and drinks for $3-$7
The digs: Splendidly rococo art nouveaux setting makes you feel like a Parisian boulevardier stopping for an aperitif in some especially ornate brasserie. The towering ceilings, ornate pillars, vertiginous potted palms, and eccentric bronzes by sculptor Albert Guibara are eye-catching indeed, and the leather-and-cherrywood Petit Café near the entrance glows with terra-cotta earth tones and all those colorful bottles catching the late afternoon sunlight. The crowd's friendly, the music jazzy, and the cozy bar makes for a pleasant urbane oasis.