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Esters opens in Santa Monica, California

PHOTO: Kathryn Coker at Esters courtesy of Emily Hart Roth

Harvard-educated Kathryn Coker, took her M.F.A. to New York City to pursue a dream of Broadway while supporting herself waiting tables at August Restaurant in Manhattan. Immediately recognizing the synergistic drama between the dining room and theatre -- “I was the only one of my acting friends who loved their day job,” she quips -- Kathryn also discovered wine at August, an appreciation that rapidly evolved into a passion culminating with the opening of Esters, an integrated wine shop, bar and market experience in downtown Santa Monica, California this week.

Partnering with Restaurateurs Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan (owners of Rustic Canyon Seasonal Kitchen & Wine Bar where Kathryn first worked upon moving to the West Coast in 2006) Kathryn and her husband Tug have created Esters’ quaint 50-seat space in the historic Telephone Building, a 1937 Art Deco landmark.

Esters, 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. 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.

Esters' eclectic wine list offers something for everyone — from connoisseurs to novices — and accommodates a wide range of budgets. For instance, the “Tug’s Picks” section honors Tug’s keen eye for value by featuring affordable weeknight bottles, mostly priced under $25. Accompanying Esters' wine list is a marketplace with a variety of artisanal items.

Guests are also encouraged to linger 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. Jeremy and Jun continue their commitment to local, seasonal products, by 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 a Cucumber Panzanella with dill and house-cultured yogurt.

PHOTO: Benton Ham with Fig at Esters courtesy of Emily Hart Roth

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.

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.

PHOTO: Charcuterie at Esters courtesy of Emily Hart Roth

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