Don’t worry about your essay, go to the pub: study links local pubs and happiness

Life as an Oxford student is notoriously stressful but there is a least one thing you can count on in the dreaming spires, a good pub.


So you’ll be pleased to hear that a new Oxford University study has found that regulars at a local pub are ‘significantly’ happier with more friends, better life satisfaction and are less likely to drink to excess.The study was carried out for the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) a pubs, drinkers and real ale advocacy group and was conducted on pubs in Oxfordshire. The report highlighted the importance of face-to-face interaction and in particular the more social environment of small local pubs. The study even stated that people’s social skills improved after a drink.


Professor Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford, stressed the importance of this kind of community saying: “Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing.” He explained: “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.”


This is unlikely to come as a shock to Oxford and student residents with over 40 pubs in the centre of Oxford alone. As Tim Page the executive of Camra said: “I hardly expect the findings will be a great surprise to Camra members”. As he went on to say: “”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.”


Pubs numbers have continued to decline over the last few decades with an average closure rate of 29 a week. From “73,421” England and Wales pubs in 1951 numbers have declined to “51,900” in 2014 Tim Page stated. This comes as the Department of Health has released new alcohol guidelines this month recommending no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.