Local drinking establishments, like Natty Greene’s, play a bigger role in their respective communities than just serving people a good beer. Bars and breweries provide a space, outside of the home and office, for socialization and community building. Drinking establishments also provide a place for organization for causes, making them vital to the wellbeing of the cities they inhabit.
Drinking establishments and the “third space”
If you ask a community developer how bars are important, they’ll likely tell you something about their role in sustainable communities - more specifically providing a much-need “third space” for everyone. This space is described as a living area - a gathering place - outside the home or office. There are many types of “third spaces” in communities, but bars and breweries are the standout favorites.
“We shouldn’t romanticize third spaces as only being about brightly lit cafes, pedestrianized streets, and the local public library. Bars work in their scruffy way by offering a place to get away from an overcrowded apartment or a squalid loft or a grimy job. They are a place where someone with little to spare can go for a change of pace,” says CityLab. “The goal of a bar patron is to enjoy the primary benefit of any decent third space: a place to linger … just plain old hanging out – that’s really at the heart of place-making, and we shouldn’t forget it.”
These third spaces in cities provide avenues for socialization, which is incredibly important if communities want to stay connected and involved in each other’s lives. To put it simply, drinking brings people together. For example, the entire state of North Carolina is about to be deep into NC Beer Month, a statewide celebration of all things beer that takes place in April. Through this celebration, dozens and dozens of events are springing up, including brewery tours, food events, charity beer races, and more.
Drinking establishments as community organizing spaces
Maybe the biggest benefit of bars and breweries in your community is that they provide a space for community organization - that is, a place for people to gather to rally around a good cause.
Think about something like a charity bar crawl or brewery hop. People can order matching T-shirts, get their drinking pants on, and rally support around a good cause by soliciting donations to go around and drink beer. Bars and breweries are also just great places to hold benefits. Most establishments will be more than happy to help out, considering it’s not only the right thing to do but it helps to boost business as well.
Bars and breweries are also good locations to hold community meetings, town hall events, and wellness programs like group yoga or a running club. Good things happen when people meet where beer is served.
Drinking establishments as pillars of the small business community
Apart from providing a place for community organization and socialization, bars and breweries are huge boosts to the local economy and job scenes.
“When local residents shop at small businesses within their communities, their tax dollars stay within the local economy, helping to improve their community as a result. Likewise, local small businesses tend to buy locally as well, pumping more of their profits back into the community than their chain store counterparts,” says Shopkeep.com. “Small businesses are job creators, and most of those jobs are local jobs. Rather than having to commute to another city, employees work closer to home. Not only does this reduce traffic congestion, supporting local businesses also supports your fellow community members who work at them.”
While you may not think of a bar or brewery as “vital” to your community initially, once you stop and consider what one really me