Local bar can make you healthy

Go ahead and add an extra night out with your friends this, and every, week. A new study finds that regular social drinking is good for your health.

The study, which was published in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Psychology, found that people who frequented a local watering hole had bigger social networks, were more engaged with their community, and were more satisfied with life.

How’s that for an excuse to never miss another wine Wednesday?

Researchers from the University of Oxford looked at three data factors for the study: a happiness survey, location-based studies, and face recognition tasks where people were asked to rate trustworthiness, approachability, and attractiveness. The research was done in England, and focused on local pubs where conversation among regulars was a key part of the pub going experience. People with a local joint excelled in the happiness factor, with low to moderate alcohol consumption being the binding ingredient.

“Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness,” Robin Dunbar, a University of Oxford professor involved in the study, says in a statement. “While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socializing, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding.”

Regularly hitting the same neighborhood bar is a human bonding ritual on the same level as dancing, singing, and storytelling, Dunbar says. People in the study who didn’t have a local drinking spot had smaller social circles and less trust for people around them.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the country being more divided than ever about PC versus Apple, self driving cars versus old fashioned cars, and aged Two Buck Chuck versus fresh Two Buck Chuck. There are a few other things as well. For this nation to come together, people in the aged $2 wine camp and those who like it new need to find a way set aside their differences and learn about each other. Hitting the bar, this research suggests, could be just what this divided nation needs.