Ester Is A Place To Gather, Build, And Deepen Connections

Ester, a welcoming wine bar and event space by operator Ashley Newsome and designer/owner Kermit Westergaard, opened on June 23rd in Ridgewood. The intimate, candle-lit wine bar on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Harman Street fits right into its charming Ridgewood neighborhood, while the connecting event space, sun-drenched and verdant by day and glowing with wood burning firelight by night, is like the oversized living room of every New Yorker’s dreams.

Open 5pm to midnight, Thursday-Monday, Ester (named after Newsome’s father) invites neighborhood residents and beyond to enjoy a robust selection of natural wines and small plates in a serene, understated setting. The wine and food menu are intentionally designed to be accessible to all budgets and wine is offered by the bottle, glass, and half-glass. An offering unique to Ester is that each evening’s first patrons get to choose which bottles will be available by the glass that evening. As such, adventurous oenophiles are encouraged to come early.

Newsome, formerly the General Manager and wine buyer of the Marlow Collective and Roman’s in Brooklyn, has given the same thoughtful attention to the wine list and small plates menu that Westergaard has given to the space design. Newsome notes, “We offer simple wines from producers who follow natural and biodynamic farming practices. You can expect an everchanging bottle list with wines mostly from Europe. We especially love deep colored rosés, coastal red wines from Italy, white and skin contact wines from Austria, Slovenia or Catalonia and anything that reminds us of a dry sherry.” Local beers are also on tap. In addition to sweet and salty nuts, charcuterie, and simple items like jamón with roasted tomato and butter on toast, highlights on the small plates menu include creme fraiche topped with salmon roe and served with potato chips; rich mushroom broth with sake and black rice; and the not to be missed panna cotta drizzled with husk cherries and fresh mint. 

The inviting bar and event space, both meticulously designed by Westergaard, are detailed with tin ceilings, a zinc bar top, exposed beams, handmade Moroccan tiles, repurposed wood paneling from retired water towers, pintucked leather banquettes, unlacquered brass wall detailing, and a reclaimed oak wine refrigerator behind the bar that’s accessed by an antique rolling ladder. In a nod to the building’s former life as a textile mill with a speakeasy and bowling alley in the basement, the wine bar’s central standing table sits atop the iron legs of the former knitting machine. Adding to the ambiance is an upright player piano that resides in the wine bar and a baby grand that holds court in the event space. Live music programming will be offered in the fall.

“Ashley and I want everyone to feel welcome here,” said Westergaard. “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.” Newsome added, “We believe wine should be accessible and shared often. May you drink good wine and share it with as many old friends, new friends, lovers to be and lifelong loves as often as possible. We hope everyone will stop by and let us spoil them.”

Ester can be found on Instagram at or online at 646-543-6430.