The study of more than 1,000 people aged over 65 discovered that having someone to sit with (52%) and eating together (35%) were two big factors for the elderly who are lonely.
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Colin Valentine said pubs can play a “huge role” in combating social isolation – and create a safe place for people to meet socially.
He said: “It is not a surprise that loneliness and isolation receive a great deal of attention at this time of year, when so many people face spending the holidays alone. Yet for many, especially those over the age of 65, this is a year-round struggle.
"Simply put, a local pub can be like family. Despite this, 21 pubs are closing their doors each week across the UK. If we want to help combat isolation and loneliness, we need to make sure there are still community venues where people can access support and create friendships – such as pubs.”
The Oxford study for CAMRA, released in May 2016, titled Friends on Tap, illustrated how a community local can fill the gap left by loneliness – and help create a healthier psychological state.
It also discovered friendships created in the pub were closer than those created elsewhere – and modest alcohol consumption enables people to build friendships and create a sense of community.
It said: “Pubs serve an important hub function, by providing a venue at which people can meet. With the exception of places of worship, few venues in the contemporary world provide an open environment for meeting new people, especially for older age groups.
“For incomers to a neighbourhood and those whose turn of life has left them socially isolated, becoming a ‘regular’ at a community pub can become a gateway for meeting new friends – and, through this, a lifeline.”