Having a Local Watering Hole May Be the Key to Your Happiness
They know your name and your order; they know more about your complex relationship with your father than your spouse. Your local bar may be a larger part of your life than just a place to grab a beer. A new study is saying that it helps create happiness by providing a local network of friends.
The study, done by Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and called “Friends on Tap: The Roles of Pubs at the Heart of the Community” , found that those who live close to a local bar tend to have more friends “to call on for support” and a greater sense of friendship and community.
Project lead researcher Professor Robin Dunbar describes the findings: "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.”
Because of his job, Jernej Razen knows of, has heard of, or has visited a large swath of bars, clubs and hot spots in New York. Still, the director of social media for Fly Concierge, a text-based recommendation and reservation service in New York City, finds himself on the barstool of his local bar time and time again. "The line from the Cheers theme song ‘where everybody knows your name’ almost always plays in my head when I enter my local haunt (which is literally across the street from my apartment). Being a foreign transplant with a somewhat offbeat name, the idea of a place where everyone not only knows my name, but knows how to pronounce it properly, is outrageously comforting,” says Razen. “It gives one a sense of place and belonging. It serves as a 'home base' that is better stocked than your own wine cabinet and endlessly more social than your Netflix queue."
Next time you are holed up in your apartment staring at Facebook, shut it down, walk to your corner bar and...talk to people. Turns out it’ll make you feel better and do wonders for your social life. Go figure.