Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Bars, taprooms and breweries provide us with much more than just food and drinks. Inside the warmly lit nook of an Irish pub, or at the expansive tables of a German beer garden, people come together to share their lives with one another.
When we eat or drink together, we tell stories, we debate politics, we talk about the future of our communities. Strangers meet each other and form connections. Trivia competitions are won and lost. Memories and relationships are made.
Despite the deep attachment many people feel to their favorite bars and restaurants, the social importance of these businesses often goes unnoticed. While we remember the personal connection we have to these establishments, we forget how critical these spaces are to the fabric of many local communities.
To help honor these businesses, here are a few reasons why bars and restaurants should be recognized as vital components of any community.
How Bars and Taprooms Improve Mental Health
Isolation is not just a recent phenomenon. Even before COVID-19, many of us got swept up in the craziness of daily life. We often missed the opportunity to take a break and spend time with our friends and family. Bars, taprooms and breweries offer us a chance to slow down and connect with people. As a result, frequenting a local establishment can considerably improve a person’s mental health.
This isn’t just conjecture – researchers at the University of Oxford have verified the psychological benefits of “pub culture”. However, the benefits don’t just stem from walking into a bar and sitting at the counter.
Pub culture, as Oxford describes it, promotes mental health by encouraging social bonding. Dancing together, singing together and telling stories together fosters a sense of closeness (be sure to practice social distancing if it’s not your partner!). In turn, people feel a deeper connection to their community derived from their sense of belonging.
In short, being connected to a local bar or brewery connects us to the community in a measurably impactful way.
How Breweries And Distilleries Foster A Sense of Community
Local breweries and distilleries provide us with a similar benefit. On one hand, they often double as event spaces, hosting events like weddings and family reunions. But the role of breweries and distilleries is greater than just hosting events.
Breweries and distilleries are one of the last bastions of local manufacturing in America. Through time and artistry, they capture the local flavors of a community. Bottles and packaging illustrate their host city’s artistic style. Like a football team or local celebrity, breweries become iconic symbols of a community that tie its citizens together through familiar flavors and designs.
Why This Matters Now
Many of these businesses are still suffering due to the current pandemic. COVID-19 is unlikely to relent any time soon, and many customers are still hesitant to leave the house given the current health crisis.
Purchase swag or merchandise, especially if you’re an out-of-state fan and can’t support via takeout
Buy a gift card for a future visit or a gift for a friend
Follow, like and engage on social media. For many companies, these outlets are cost-effective platforms to promote news and deals and more engagement means a message is more likely to be seen
Follow and support local legislation for relief acts for the hospitality industry
We will gather again soon, even though it may look different, and by supporting our favorite spots now, we will ensure they are there on the other side.