Free Drinks “Pub” films Strangers consuming “Alcohol”

A clever new study done at London South Bank University involved the setting up of new pub where drinkers could enjoy alcohol for free but there was a catch, the pub wasn’t actually real, not all the drinks were alcoholic and there were cameras rolling the entire time.

Drinker’s every movement was tracked with little cameras as they drank what they thought were free drinks at the new pub on campus. The psychology students are actually going to be tracking how drinkers get drunk and their behaviour.

The pub cost £20,000 ($37,000) and is actually the new home of the psychology lab, as this excerpt from explains:

originalAt London South Bank University’s shiny new pub, the drinks are free, but they, uhh, may or may not actually contain alcohol. And it’s not a real pub, actually. Oh, and there are little cameras all over the place tracking your every movement.

If that doesn’t like quite the greatest night on the town, that’s because it’s actually the university’s newest psychology lab, built to the tune of £20,000 ($37,000). With psychology students as bartenders and CCTV cameras hidden throughout, room J-407 will be used to study how people get drunk and interact.


The psychology faculty went to great lengths to mimic an actual pub, even playing sounds to make it sound like a real pub and rubbing glasses with ethanol so that the pub smells authentic as well.

The pub also features several props that you would find in an ordinary pub, although the “props” also play a part in the study. For example the cleverly placed jukebox is meant to help psychology students determine what type of music makes people drink etc.

The fun’n’games that normally keep you at the bar also double as research props. As described by The Guardian, “Props include a fruit machine, to test risk-taking behaviour, and wire loop games will test eye-hand co-ordination. There will, eventually, be a juke box to determine what kind of music makes people drink more quickly.”


The article on Gizmodo questioned the ethics behind the pub as people would be unaware that they weren’t in a real pub or that their behaviour was being studied. Also the researchers say they won’t allow people at the pub to get drunker than the law allows drivers to drink, in case the test subjects get behind the wheel. The post goes on to explain:

This brings us all back to the beers. They will contain unknown amounts of alcohol to study how the it affects patrons-slash-subjects. When it comes to psychology research, there is also a little thing called ethics, so the pub won’t get people drunker than the legal driving limit. I guess they won’t be studying true drunks then? As for pubs not sanctioned by a university research committee, well, now you know where to find them. [The Guardian]