Ben Bateman, manager of Cowley Road's new Arbequina cocktail bar, on their cocktails, Spanish food and 'biodynamic vegan wine'.

I’ve been part of Oxford’s hospitality scene all my working life, but it wasn’t until I came to work for Arbequina in Cowley Road that I experienced how small, independent businesses can make a real stamp on a street or a city.

Started by Rufus Thurston, owner of Oli’s Thai, in Magdalen Road, and Ben Whyles, of the former Door 74, Arbequina has really come on since we opened over two years ago.

It is such a pleasure to see people dropping by and enjoying themselves in something you have created.

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This success really encouraged the three of us to consider what our next steps would be and, having witnessed the next-door unit at 72 being vacant and derelict for two years, we were eager to reinvigorate the site and add more to the Cowley Road community.

Lots of our customers at Arbequina often asked us where to go for drinks before or after their meals.

Oxford Mail:

While Cowley Road has a number of fantastic and independent places, we felt there was a unique opportunity to open an exciting new bar with a fresh and focused cocktail and wine list. So we set about creating Terruño – Oxford’s new cocktail and wine bar.

We wanted to continue what Arbequina does so well – a delicious, simple but high-quality offer that encourages a relaxed, adult atmosphere – and we want our drinks menu to truly reflect this.

Along with bar manager Sam, we’ve created eight house cocktails and selected eight classic cocktails.

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All of them are made from scratch (home-made oils, infusions & seasoning) with quality spirits, local produce and syrups that are made on site – a great example of this is our fig leaf infused vermouth.

We want our customers to really savour the drinking experience & embrace the quality and beauty in simple, expertly crafted drinks.

We want to keep this ethos running through the rest of our products. The craft lager we serve, Palax, is a new brewery from Rioja in Spain.

Our house wines are served on tap and all our wines are natural, organic and sustainably sourced. Some wines are biodynamic and vegan where possible, and we will be running monthly specials of exciting and exclusive wines.

Oxford Mail:

In terms of food, over the coming months we’ll be working with the chefs at Arbequina to bring to the table, pinchos – small bar appetisers often served in northern Spain that are typically used as an excuse for socialising. You can then head for dinner next door.

Finally, we often get asked about the chemist and watchmaker’s signs above the two venues. After we discovered the chemist sign above Arbequina, we greedily hoped for the same thing above Terruño.

Oxford Mail:

We did look but, alas, that wasn’t to be the case. After doing our research and working alongside the amazingly talented Ash from Brilliant Signs, we had the sign commissioned. We have really fallen in love with old-style shop frontages – it is so difficult to find such amazing craftmanship these days, and we all really enjoy the nod to both of our sites’ histories.

We hope that as word spreads, Terruño will become a firm favourite for locals & visitors alike. It is exciting to see the two sites compliment and grow from each other, and we look forward to welcoming everyone soon.