When you stroll into your usual drinking spot this weekend, remember you are improving your life, because people who are regulars at a pub or club are more trusting and satisfied with life, according to Australian research.

They have broader friendship and support networks than those without a regular watering hole, identify more closely with their community, and they make friends. Only 6 per cent of people who identified as having a local said they drank there alone.

There is a significant gender divide among pub regulars: men are more likely to engage in more intimate conversations and women more likely to converse in larger groups.

The research involving a survey of 1200 people and detailed observations of 162 individuals in pubs and clubs was conducted by Dr Peter Jonason, a social-personality psychologist currently at the University of Western Sydney.

It was commissioned by beer giant Lion, and built on earlier findings in Britain by Dr Robin Dunbar. And it raises a key social question: Are all these lifestyle benefits being lost as neighbourhood pubs and bars disappear?

“A local is a bar or club where one can buy alcohol, especially beer, and interact with others,” wrote Dr Jonason in his report Where Everyone Knows Your Name.

“Research on what people think a local is suggests it is a place close to where one lives

or works (thus the nomenclature), a place where there are people one knows including staff (thus the title of our project), is a central meeting place, a convenient location, and has good, quality beer.”

Men are likely to suffer as more neighbourhood pubs close, robbing them of places for intimate conversations.

“These conversations are likely essential to maintaining their psychological health and sense of connectedness to the community,” according to the research.

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