Apparently living in close proximity to a local watering-hole like Cheers, a place where “everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came,” can be beneficial for your health.
Now that the theme song and the image of Ted Danson pouring out cold ones for you and your closest pals are happily dancing in a continuous loop in your head, let’s see what scientists have to say about the healing community benefits derived from living down the road from your favorite dive bar!
A recent study outlined by Vice conducted at Oxford University breaks down the myriad benefits of living a stone’s throw away from your community pub. Apparently living close to a vibrant bar full of raucous locals and friends is linked to happiness in regulars who frequent those spots.
What exactly is the “science” behind slamming back craft beers with your friends you may be wondering? Well, studies indicate those regulars at popular spots were found to have a lot more friends tend to binge-drink less in groups compared to solo-drinkers and had overall higher satisfaction within their personal lives.
This study was conducted by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), covering a wide array of pubs in Oxfordshire. Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University elaborates on their case study: “Making and maintaining friendships 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 how can we get all the social and mental health benefits from the community created around these local bars and venues in pandemic times? It’s important to exercise caution such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing techniques.
Bars and venues must also ensure their establishment reaches all the safety guidelines recommended by the CDC before being able to safely house that trivia night with your friends outside or at a limited capacity indoors. Good surface sanitation techniques can go a long way as well ensuring the use of EPA approved cleaning agents proven effective in killing the virus.
Camra Chief Executive Tim Page agrees with these findings adding,“The role of community pubs in ensuring that wellbeing 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.”
We must protect these institutions and make sure they are safe and fun to converge at again. There’s nothing I miss more than discussing the harried news cycle that seems to be a continuous unending trend in 2020 over a sparkling wine to cope with my closest buds.
Alongside safety measures, it’s important to be aware of legislation passed that provides loans to help these small businesses survive during this economic downturn. This is true for bars and restaurants specifically as they tend to be hot-spots for this virus to thrive and we cannot afford to lose more business or patrons from the fallout.
The article in Vice illustrates the aforementioned issues with these troubling statistics: “Pub owners are fighting increased licensing fees and since more of us choose to drink at home, pubs are closing at an average rate of 29 a week.”
This is not good for patrons, small business, or the economy in general. Why is that?
Jane Knodell and Stephanie Seguino, professors of economics at the University of Vermont, outline the devastating effects austerity economics can have on Americans more succinctly: “There are evidence-based alternatives to budget cuts, grounded in lessons economists have learned from past economic crises. In the 1930s, for example, state governments’ efforts to balance their budgets nullified the expansionary policy of the federal government, prolonging the recovery from the Great Depression. Further, the Great Recession of 2008 demonstrated that if austerity measures (cuts to government spending) are adopted too soon, the recovery will be delayed for years, contributing to the deterioration of our human capital, resiliency, and small business viability, which will result in long-term damage to our economy and our social fabric.”
So for the sake of your sanity, community and economic recovery go out and grab a few brews with your closest friends. According to research, you’re doing more good sipping a cosmo than previously considered!