Co-Owner and Wine Director Kathryn Coker curates a 200-plus bottle selection, with small plates from Executive Chef Jeremy Fox, grab-and-go artisanal food items, and more
Let co-owner and wine director Kathryn Coker help you pick out that perfect bottle for a picnic or dinner. There are over 200 selections of wine to choose from. And any bottle you purchase on-site can be enjoyed at the bar for a corkage fee of only $15, so go all in with that magnum! Executive Chef Jeremy Fox has now added sandwiches to-go in the marketplace section like a vegetarian number with burrata, roasted red peppers, Moroccan olives, parsley, and olive oil or one with Olympia Provisions ham, butter, cornichons, and radishes—both on freshly baked Milo & Olive ciabatta.
How ESTERS came to be… Restaurateurs Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan continue to grow their restaurant family from within, partnering with Kathryn and Tug Coker and existing Rustic Canyon team members to open Esters, an integrated wine shop, bar, and market experience in downtown Santa Monica, CA.
Housed in the historic Telephone Building, a 1937 Art Deco landmark, Esters is across the hall from the restaurant group’s newly opened Cassia, where Kathryn also curates the wine program. The shop, whose name is derived from the chemical compound that contributes to a wine’s bouquet, offers a classic and diverse selection of more than 200 wines from small producers and boutique wineries, whose stories Co-owner and Wine Director Kathryn knows and loves. Esters appeals to shoppers on-the-go, with a marketplace offering a wide variety of artisanal items, as well as to guests lingering over glasses of wine, with paired dishes from Rustic Canyon Executive Chef Jeremy Fox and Pastry Chef Jun Tan, here in the chef de cuisine role.
“With Esters, we’re creating a cozy, approachable, neighborhood atmosphere where people can pop in for a glass of Champagne and a bite to eat with friends and family, stock up on specialty items for a dinner party or picnic, as well as learn more about wine by exploring our fun and unique selection,” says Kathryn, whose passion for wine led to her overseeing the wine program for Rustic Canyon and creating the initial list for Milo & Olive.
The broad and eclectic wine list offers something for everyone—from connoisseurs to novices—and accommodates a wide range of budgets. In the $40-75 range, guests can expect great Burgundies (Kathryn’s personal soft spot), Grower Champagnes, and funky biodynamic wines produced by little-known winemakers from Santa Barbara to Sicily. A high-end wine room showcases bottles priced above $75, and the “Tug’s Picks” section, which honors Tug’s keen eye for value, features affordable weeknight bottles, mostly priced under $25. At least 15 wines are poured by the glass at any given time, with opening highlights including 2012 Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligote, NV Domaine Robert Sérol Cote Roannaise “Turbullent” sparkling rosé from the Loire Valley, and 2013 Soliste Narcisse Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.
A thoughtfully curated selection of craft beers, specialty imports, and premium spirits from small production distilleries around the world is also available. Rustic Canyon Bar Manager Aaron Ranf pours a selection of sipping mezcals and stirs up classic cocktails including Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs.
In addition to an array of cheeses and cured meats from boutique salumerias across the country, Jeremy and Jun continue their commitment to local, seasonal products, incorporating them into light dishes that complement Kathryn’s wine selections, such as Smoked California Fish in a jar with pickled ramps, Cook Pigs Ranch Pork Terrine with grape mustard, and Cucumber Panzanella with dill and house-cultured yogurt.
The marketplace component features grab-and-go artisanal items and rare, limited-edition products from friends and suppliers whose work inspires the team. Highlights include housemade sandwiches, loaves of Zoe’s renowned breads from Milo & Olive, gourmet chocolates from Compartés, raw honey from Massey Honey Co., Solstice Canyon almond butter, and Bottle Stock wine accessories.
L.A.-based Oonagh Ryan Architects designed Esters, which seats 50 indoors, to seamlessly flow between the wine bar and retail aspects, combining raw, modern elements with an eclectic mix of new and vintage furnishings. Salvaged steel-frame windows have been gracefully repurposed into an enclosure for the high-end wine cellar, and a large, beaded chandelier hangs over a custom wood and steel communal table. A 20-seat, U-shaped bar anchors the 1,600 square-foot space and features a hand-plastered front with decorative molding and a fluted terrazzo and brass counter. White marble coffee tables, a rich green velvet loveseat, and linen-clad chairs add an elegant and whimsical vibe, reminiscent of a Parisian flea market. A fruit-tree enclosed patio comfortably seats 40 and features colorful, tile-topped tables and a weathered zinc communal table—ideal for enjoying wine and small plates al fresco. Coming this fall, guests can look forward to winemaker visits, classes, and tasting flights.
Esters Wine Shop
1314 7th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Esters, the new wine shop, bar, and marketplace in Santa Monica has extended their opening hours, so if you’re craving a cooling glass of Rosé or some Beaujolais during the day, problem solved. They are open at 11 a.m. every day until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday (closed on Mondays until after Labor Day) and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
(Photo Credits: Emily Hart Roth)