Rejoice fellow drinkers: the key to happiness is to live beside a pub.
New research by Oxford University of pubs in the Oxfordshire area showed that social skills improved after a drink and found people more likely to engage in conversation in small pubs. The researchers found that residents with pubs nearby were significantly happier, have more friends and actually drink in more moderation.
The report, commissioned by the entirely neutral Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), highlights the importance of local pubs, where people are more likely to engage in smaller surroundings than bigger ones.
The study proved how important it was to make friends for a happier life.
Professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University said: “Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing.
“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.”
Statistics show that the pub trade is in decline. In 1951 there were 73,421 pubs in England and Wales, but the number had declined to 51,904 by 2014, the latest year that figures are available. Pubs are closing at an average rate of 29 a week.
Tim Page, chief executive of 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 wellbeing.
“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.”
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran