The secret of happiness? A local pub

Posted Feb 1, 2016 by Tim Sandle
The secrets of happiness occupy voluminous books and an entire industry of analysts. The secret may be down the end of our roads: a pub we can call home. At least, according to a new study.
A selection of beer bottles through the ages  on display at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
A selection of beer bottles through the ages, on display at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
The basis of the new research from Oxford University is the secret to happiness is access to a pub (public house) or bar that we can call 'home' or 'the local'; somewhere within walking or stumbling distance, where there are familiar faces and the types of intoxicating liquor that we particularly enjoy. Convinced?
The research, while carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford in the U.K. was commissioned by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). CAMRA is a body that seeks to improve the quality of beer and lagers served in pubs: a return to the varied and tasty ales rather than the mass-produced bland fizzy drinks that are increasingly commonplace.
The research concludes people with access to a pub nearby where they can feel relaxed are of a type who are "significantly’ happier" than others. Such people also tend to have more friends and they enjoy better life satisfaction.
Speaking with the daily freesheet The Metro, Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, who led the research, noted: "Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing." He also noted, with reference to the digital age: "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." This, it seems, is where the local boozer comes in.
The research takes the form of a 'white paper' and it is titled "Friends on Tap." The report is available free online.