Brew Crew

John Turri playing at the Beerded Bean earlier this year. The new coffee shop now features a diverse set of performers and lively audiences.

Live music has been part of the vision from the beginning, say the three owners of the Beerded Bean, Eric Del Real, Michael Del Real and Ernest Rodriguez.

Most of the time Beerded Bean is a coffee shop that also serves beer (hence the name). But the place recently became a music venue, and Salinas is drinking it up. It’s been standing-room-only at many events, with engaged audience members who often clap along.

“We just want to give musicians a place to play,” Eric Del Real says. “We want to see them make it.”

They’ve featured familiar acts like Sej Miles, who is quickly becoming known for her provocative and soulful folk music, as well as Noah Reeves, Max & Bronwyn, and Leche Malo.

But they’ve also been able to bring in artists who haven’t yet played elsewhere locally. Among them is John Turri, who has a John Mayer-like stage presence and a growing following. And there’s Chris Martinez, who strums out folk tunes in the style of Avriel & the Sequoias and has a joyous stage presence.

Rob Kam of the duo Better Apes walked into the shop, saw the stage and asked to play on the spot. They later came back for two open mic nights and were invited to play during the coffee shop’s recent grand re-opening – an event that announced Beerded Bean as Monterey County’s newest stage.

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On a recent open mic night, Carlos Cortez saw a guitar hanging on the wall and took it to the stage, saying he felt at home.

“We want to create a culture of acceptance and openness,” Michael Del Real adds. Rodriguez puts it this way: “It’s all about community.”

LIVE MUSIC happens 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Beerded Bean, 210 S. Main St., Salinas. No cover. 202-0966,

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