Detroit has a long history with bars. In the 1830s, the city had one saloon for every 13 residents. According to new research from none other than Oxford University in the United Kingdom, it might be that the corner bar (or pub) plays a more important role in keeping a community happy than one might think.

With the suburbanization of America, less and less people have a corner bar they can call their own. Local pubs are on the decline across the pond, too.

The research shows that those who have a drink in a local pub are “significantly” happier, have more friends, better life satisfaction, and are less likely to drink to excess.

Tim Page, the head of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said:

Pubs offer a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible, supervised community setting. Nothing is more significant for individuals, the social groupings to which they belong and the country as a whole as our personal and collective well-being.

The role of community pubs in ensuring that well-being cannot be overstated. For that reason, we all need to do what we can to ensure that everyone has a ‘local’ near to where they live or work.

Obviously, with a name like the “Campaign for Real Ale,” it’s pretty clear what the funding bias is. But a lot of the information makes sense. One of the findings was the more people you know, and the more often you see them, the better you feel and the healthier you are.

This graph plots happiness, trust levels and life satisfaction of people who have a local bar and those who do not.


Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University said:

Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and well-being. Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face: the digital world is simply no substitute. Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary.

So there you have it. Go out and enjoy a pint or two with some friends instead of just Facebooking them, with the knowledge you have a little science behind your decision.

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