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Esters Wine Shop & Bar

PHOTOS: Holly Liss

While we obviously all know DJ Tanner was the clear shining child star of Full House (come at us Michelle), there is something to be said about Stephanie. You’d expect her to be the annoying little sister, or a slightly less polished version of DJ, but admit it. In the end, you found her just as endearing and likable as DJ. (After all, she did drive a car through the kitchen at one point.)

Esters Wine bar is unofficially known as the waiting room/little sister/Stephanie to Cassia. And while everyone in Santa Monica is raving about the French/Asian fusion spot (ourselves included), we’re here to tell you Esters is entirely worthwhile on it’s own.

Like Cassia, Esters has an aesthetically stunning perimeter, but it's the massive interior and cool patio that proves it’s much more than your average wine bar. To no one’s surprise, the menu is a cheese lover’s paradise. But with everything from charcuterie to lamb meatballs to a hearty grilled cheese sandwich that easily feeds a family of four, you won’t be stranded with some brie and crackers either. Yes, it’s a wine bar, but you can definitely sit down and have dinner as well. And you should. Just don’t come in using the “I’m lactose intolerant right now” line or be on some cleanse no one cares about, you won’t do well here. This is carbo-loaded, indulgent finger food to accompany all that wine you’re drinking. All of which, by the way, is excellent.

Esters is easily a place to entertain a client from out-of-town during happy hour, take an early in the game date, grab an after dinner drink, or enjoy their outdoor patio alone or with friends and not worry about snagging a reservation. If you sip something you like, they even have a small retail section where you can pick up some wine to take home.

Perhaps Esters will always be known as that cool wine bar next door to Cassia, but just like one Miss Stephanie Tanner proved over time, this spot is hardly second rate.

Food Rundown

Milo & Olive Bread W/Olive Oil & Butter

If it’s from Milo & Olive, you know it’s going to be great. This is also a good vehicle for the 900 types of cheese and meat you’ll be eating.

Corn Nuts

If you grew up in Virginia (or basically anywhere for that matter), you definitely ate these regularly after soccer games, in between classes during high school, or anytime in between. These are Esters take on a snack of our youth and they're addicting.

Kouign Amann Cheese Twist

Baked and puffy, this cheese/bread combo is a solid (read: only) way to start your Esters experience.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

We consider ourselves grilled cheese connoisseurs and this guy can certainly play with the big boys. The bread is thick and stuffed with four different types of cheese. It's massive, gooey, and delicious. Really hungry? Add the ham.

Cheese And Charcuterie

We are grouping all of the cheese and meat together because chances are you’ll like them all. You’ll write down the names of what you ate and then try to find them on your next trip to Pavilions. When ordering cheese/meat here, we suggest you ask your server what they recommend and just go all in.

Cake In A Jar

Chocolate cake served in a mason jar. Nothing mind-blowing, but a good option if you’re going for a post-dinner drink and dessert.

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