By: Jane Moore
This St. Patrick’s Day, there are a lot of reasons to be thankful for your local watering holes. First off, they provide your community with an invaluable service - a place for everyone to meet with a common goal. No matter what your specific reason is for wanting a cold beer, we all just want to enjoy life in a social setting. And that’s what bars provide.
But this year, you should give an extra special thanks for one specific role drinking establishments play in your community: they make you all healthier.
You see, overall well-being is highly dependent on social satisfaction, and the face-to-face aspect of a bar or pub setting is invaluable. The bar provides us all with a much-needed break from the stresses of work, home life, and the day-to-day grind. It also forces us to look up from our smartphones and computers for a couple of hours.
"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," says Robin Dunbar of Oxford University. His research found that people who have a local bar are significantly happier than those who don’t, and tend to have better overall health.
If it seems strange that a place that serves beer could have such a positive effect on the wellbeing of a community, here’s some more proof. Medical Daily reports that this finding has been backed up by multiple scientific studies. Also, it’s not just about social wellbeing. Local bars actually have a positive effect on drinking in moderation. Those that frequent local drinking establishments on a regular basis, instead of larger non-community pubs, tend to drink less.
“The findings of … three studies highlighted the advantages of social drinking in venues like local bars. People who had a local bar tended to rate themselves as feeling significantly happier than those who do not, were more likely to have higher life satisfaction, and felt that other people are significantly more trustworthy. Researchers noted patrons drank less than when they were on their own, or in large city center pubs and bars, known as the group moderation effect,” says Medical Daily.
So you can thank your local bars for helping your overall health and wellbeing. Now how can you say thanks on the biggest drinking holiday of the year?
Patronage, first and foremost. Get out there and support your local bars, plural. Schedule a pub crawl of local small businesses. Spend a little bit of your hard-earned money and tip your bartender well. Pumping money into local bars and service workers is not only good for the local economy, but also helps to foster positive relationships among members of the community.
You can also talk to your favorite bar and see if they want to host a charity or fundraising event this St. Patrick’s Day. Find a cause that means a lot to you and your friends, coordinate some custom matching shirts, spread the events on Facebook, and watch the money pour in. Not only will you be helping a deserving charity, but you’ll be driving business to your local bar and publicizing their role in sponsoring a good cause. Plus, everyone gets to drink green beer and party. It’s a true win-win-win.