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. 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 wine list offers something for everyone and accommodates a wide range of budgets. In the $40-75 range, guests can expect great Burgundies, 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, features affordable weeknight bottles, mostly priced under $25. At least 15 wines are poured by the glass at any given time.
A 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 the Old Fashioned and Sazerac.
In addition to an array of cheeses and cured meats, Jeremy and Jun continue their commitment to local, seasonal products, incorporating them into light dishes, 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 house made sandwiches, loaves of Zoe’s renowned breads from Milo & Olive, gourmet chocolates from Compart√©s, raw honey from Massey Honey Co., Solstice Canyon almond butter and Bottle Stock wine accessories.
Esters seats 50 indoors with a 20-seat, U-shaped bar and a fruit tree enclosed patio that seats 40.
Esters is located at 1314 7th St. and is open Tuesday-Sunday 4-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4 p.m.-12 a.m. and closed on Mondays. Beginning on Aug. 11, Esters will open Tuesday-Sunday at 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.esterswineshop.com or call (310) 899-6900.