New study from Oxford University has found that drinking in moderation with friends seems to improve overall wellbeing.
People who drank regularly at their local were happier, more satisfied with their lives and had more friends.
While most studies warn of the health risks of alcohol consumption, researchers think that drink may play an important role in improving social cohesion by triggering endorphins which increase happiness and promote bonding.
Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology department, said: ‘This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples’ social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life.
“Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness.
“While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding.
“Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, it has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding.’