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Norm!

 People and communities receive psychological and economic benefits from having neighborhood pubs or taverns. 

| BY Kent McDill

There may be no more endearing running gag in American serial TV history than the sight of actor George Wendt, portraying a regular at a Boston neighborhood bar, being greeted as he enters the establishment with the joyful chorus of patrons yelling “Norm!”

The neighborhood bar is an iconic location with a history dating back centuries. Pubs, taverns, whatever you want to call them, have existed since alcohol and communities were invented.

While the “neighborhood bar”’ failed to materialize in suburban settings where homes fill up acres of land and the business district is miles away, urban locations thrive on the existence of a local watering hole.

Now research shows that when a citizen has a favored local pub and frequents it, they are happier citizens.

At the request of a British organization named Campaign for Real Ale, a research team at Oxford University looked into the benefits of having a local bar that is part of your routine.

“Pubs offer a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible, supervised community setting,’’ said Tim Page, who leads the Campaign for Real Ale. “Nothing is more significant for individuals, the social groupings to which they belong and the country as a whole as our personal and collective well-being”.

According to the Oxford University research, the more often you see the people you are comfortable being with, the better you feel and the healthier you are. Often, those people are met at a gathering place like a neighborhood pub.

As seen here, several statistical analyses show the difference between those who have a favored social spot and those that do not in terms of happiness, trust and life satisfaction.

“Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and well-being,’’ said Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar. “Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face; the digital world is simply not substitute. Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones become even more necessary.”

Other points that came from the research include:

·         People who frequent a neighborhood pub have more friends they can call for support than those that do not. They are also happier and most trusting than the others, and feel more engaged with their community.

·         People who rarely enter pubs, and those who go to larger pubs, consume more alcohol than those that drink in local community taverns.

Sustainable City Network, a media and publishing company from Dubuque, Iowa that provides municipal, education and healthcare professionals with information on sustainability services and practices, notes the value of a neighborhood pub on its website www.sustainablecitynetwork.com. The site suggests that a neighborhood pub is a person’s “third place” outside of a first place, which is home, and a second place, which is work.

The website quotes Los Angeles land use planner Reuben Duarte, who says a neighborhood pub is a vital part of any urbanization project.

“You can create a ‘green’ community, but if that green community still requires its residents to satisfy their activities away, it’s benefits are reduced,’’ Duarte said. “If you have to learn your community to grab a drink, that trip weighs down other sustainable practices, not to mention the public safety risk of drunk driving. A local drinking establishment is as necessary to a complete neighborhood as a local coffee shop, restaurant and grocery store.”

 

 



About the Author


Kent McDill

kmcdill@spectrem.com

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.