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Why It Might Feel Like You Get More Drunk At The Pub Over Drinking At Home

Why It Might Feel Like You Get More Drunk At The Pub Over Drinking At Home

There are a number of environmental and behavioural variables at play, including what, where and how you’re drinking

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

With pubs finally open for outdoor service, many of us have already flocked to our local for a celebratory pint - or several.

But after months of drinking at home on your sofa, how does the experience compare? Do we tend to get more bladdered at a bar surrounded by our friends? Are the hangovers worse?

After all, there are a number of environmental and behavioural variables at play, including what, where and how you're drinking, and even what you're eating - or not eating, as is sometimes the case.

For instance, you can always just slip upstairs to bed when you're drinking at home, meaning you're surely more likely to call it a night earlier. You've also got a well-stocked kitchen at your disposal to keep that stomach lined, while a session at the pub often sees you trying to soak up all that booze with a solitary packet of dry-roasted peanuts.

Drinking 440ml cans or 330ml bottles of beer will obviously see you slurping less liquid than a 568ml pint of beer, while you may not have any Jager or sambuca knocking about at home for those entirely unnecessary shots.


Over on Reddit, a thread from a few years back aims to shed a little light on the matter, after one user asked why drinking at home seems to affect them differently to drinking in a bar.

One person suggested it may be 'the rate at which you drink the beers', as some people tend to drink faster in a pub - especially if there are rounds to keep up with - while another said at home you might be more 'preoccupied by things like TV than a bar where slamming a beer is part of being there'.

Someone else thought it may have something to do with being in an 'alien environment', saying: "Being drunk in a foreign place makes you feel drunker, because you're less used to the stimuli that you are experiencing."


Anyone who's ever found themselves having to navigate an unfamiliar staircase to get to the toilets will understand that one; it feels like a mission at the best of times, but that's especially so if you compare it to staggering to your loo at home, which is approximately two metres from the sofa.

Agreeing with the point, someone added: "I took a biological psychology class in college and that's exactly what they said. Basically our brains get used to a certain stimulus in the same environment and we start to build up a tolerance. As soon as we change the stimulus/environment balance, we essentially have to start over to an extent.

"[...] If you continually drink at the same bar with the same atmosphere, you'll also gain a tolerance in that environment. But as soon as you go somewhere completely different, you may get tipsy a lot more quickly."


Another user pondered the role of food, writing: "Things such as food and water (or other non-alcoholic drinks) can affect alcohol absorption rates. If you're at home, perhaps you eat and drink more than if you're out at a bar?"

They added: "Also consider types of alcohol (is it really the same amount? A bottle of wine at home vs. a few beers and a few shots at the bar), changes in physical activity and caffeine/Red Bull intake at the bar vs home.

"Lastly: state of mind. You'll technically be the same amount of drunk (BAC), but you'll feel more drunk if you're surrounded by other friends having a drunk ol' time and you're mentally 'accepting' drunkness."

Someone else claimed that the cleanliness of beer lines may play a part, saying: "Depending where you are in the world, you also need to consider the cleanliness of the beer piping. Some bars rarely clean their pipes and that will get your head and stomach fucked up real bad, not always on the night but for sure the next day. To avoid that, watch what the locals drink, tap or bottled/canned beer."

Wherever you decide to drink as we move out of lockdown, just make sure you're doing it responsibly.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Drink, Pubs, Food And Drink, Alcohol