Ester, located on 467 Woodward Ave., brings a romantic, intimate atmosphere to the neighborhood, which the owners said fits right into the charming nature of Ridgewood. Owner Kermit Westergaard, a former Ridgewood resident, meticulously designed Ester, with notable details from the zinc bar top and exposed beams to handmade Moroccan tiles.
As a nod to the building’s history as a textile mill, Westergaard put the wine bar atop the iron legs of the former knitting machine.
“The building was in very poor condition and when you walked through the door, there was just such a magical, time-capsule feel to the building. It felt like you stepped back into 1920,” Westergaard said. “I wanted to keep something about the way the space felt in the design.”
Operator Ashley Newsome, a former general manager and wine buyer of Marlow Collective’s Roman’s in Brooklyn, gave the same flawless attention to detail to the menu as Westergaard did with the design. Newsome plans to change the wine list often. However, the menu will usually have a European influence — with rosés, coastal red wines from Italy, white wines from Austria, Slovenia or Catalonia and more.
“I’m excited to put my stamp on Ester and bring people together,” Newsome said. “Wine bars can be such a gathering place for all walks of life and meet people and have conversations maybe you wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
The small plates are intended to pair perfectly with the wine selection, all while keeping it budget-friendly. Newsome wanted to bring sweet and salty flavors through charcuterie boards, crème fraîche topped with salmon roe and panna cotta drizzled with husk cherries and fresh mint.
Ester, named after Newsome’s father, is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday to Monday. Ester offers a unique experience each night — upon opening, the first customers get to choose which bottles will be available by the glass that evening.
“We really want to make it feel like there’s an engagement with the community and anybody can come in and have an experience that’s really memorable,” Westergaard said. “Whatever your story, whatever your day, when you walk through our doors we want to transport you to the warmest, most welcoming place you’ve ever been.”
For more information, visit ester.nyc/winebar.