For 30 years, I've traveled to the Monterey Peninsula on writing assignments — golf to motorsports to pro cycling. Whatever sports, Travel or human interest assignments warrant travel to Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove or any of the surrounding communities I go.

Who doesn't want to travel to paradise? The constant dilemma is what to do at night. The Osio Theater on Alvarado Street in Monterey, my favorite non-corporate movie house, closed last year.

Earlier this year, Brophy's, the neighborhood "Cheers" bar on 4th and San Carlos in Carmel, also shut its doors.

It was the perfect combination of a friendly bar with quality pub grub. I always felt at home even if I visited the establishment only once or twice a year.

New choice for Monterey nightlife

I have a few regular restaurant stops for simple reasonably price meals on the Monterey Peninsula. And I have to a new favorite place to decompress after a long day of work. It's East Village Coffeehouse on Washington Street in downtown Monterey.

The establishment serves satisfactory coffee and specialty drinks.

It has quality quiches breakfast burritos and pastries, and it has a few beers on tap for afternoon and evening visits. It's located in an old Carmel sandstone building with individual rooms shaped more like caves.

The best reason I like East Village is that it offers free, or nearly free, music several nights a week. I've now attended three shows in recent months, all featuring different types of music and with audiences from only three to about a dozen.

Varied performers offer free music

On my most recent visit I heard the group Tipperary, named after the county in Ireland. Its music reflected it name, upbeat, sing alongs to ballads of lost love.

On another occasion, the performer was Christian Tena and two band mates. He's an area junior college student who writes his own music and accompanies it with some accomplished guitar work. Tena's music is a combination of Cat Stevens, acoustic Steely Dan, some straight-ahead pop-rock, and maybe a little R.E.M.

or Phish.

Monterey has a few loud music venues, ideally suited for a younger nightclub crowd. But East Village is a better choice for live music in a more relaxed (most of the time), intimate environment. It’s worthy of your patronage. And there's usually a tip jar.

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