Santa Monica’s Esters has now had a little bit of time to settle into its beautiful 1937 Art Deco building on 7th Street, and it certainly seems to be taking to the place. The wine bar and small plates shop from Kathryn Coker and her husband Tug has been highly anticipated for quite some time, and with backing from the Rustic Canyon team (Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb), plus food from Jeremy Fox, it’s a safe bet that Esters will be around for quite some time.
First, the space. Much like its next door neighbor and sister restaurant Cassia, Esters is full of tall, open ceilings, and beautiful tones. A bank of glass windows and doors lead out to a cozy patio, while inside the clean space there’s mostly bar seating and a Mid-Century modern communal table. The three-sided wraparound bar lets customers interact easily with with Esters employees when learning about the various bottles on hand (of which there are hundreds, taking up just about every inch of shelf space available).
The menu at Esters is a wonderful walk through perfect wine pairings, from simple heirloom tomatoes with burrata to curry cashews and kougin amann cheese twists. Most of the menu real estate is taken up by cheese plates and charcuterie however, making Esters a prime place for after-work drinks and a few small bites.
If you don’t have that kind of time, there is a small wall of premade options (either done in house or from local shops like Sqirl) for stocking up on high-end ingredients. And, of course, there are plenty of bottles of wine for sale.
Esters is currently open Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and are closed on Mondays. Weekend hours run 4 p.m. to midnight.