Researchers at London South Bank University are looking into how much people choose to drink and how willing drinkers are to take risks as their alcohol consumption increases.
Hidden cameras and microphones will be used to monitor behavior as volunteers are given free drinks, some of which will smell of ethanol but be alcohol-free.
The university's psychology department converted a study room into the bar to "plug the gap" between the laboratory and real life and make it easier to investigate "the factors that motivate people's drinking." Real pubs are considered to have distractions that skew results.
Dr. Tony Moss, head of psychology, said, "What we are trying to do is simulate, with a greater deal of control, the environment in which people find themselves drinking.
"This is somewhere in between being able to do research in the real world in a bar -- where we have very little control over what is going on -- and in a lab cubicle, which is nothing like the way people are drinking in the real world."
Students will conduct further work on preliminary research suggesting "responsible drinking" adverts and posters had the unintended effect of making people drink more.
Moss said, "A lot of the work we are doing involves giving people non-alcoholic drinks, but leading them to believe they contain alcohol.
"A lot of the early work we have been doing isn't so much interested in the effects of alcohol once people are intoxicated but trying to understand factors that motivate people to drink in certain ways -- particularly how they initiate a night out when they're drinking.
"Of course, there are studies we do which involve administering alcohol to people, so that we can see what happens later on."
The pub is stocked with various drinks and has its own bar stools and fruit machine.
Moss said, "It's relatively low cost. To be able to produce a facility like this is extraordinarily useful."
Karis Humphreys, who is studying for an MSc in addiction psychology and counselling, said, "It's easy to get other students to participate if you tell them alcohol is involved. We all drink a lot, so you can see the findings in your day-to-day life."
Anne Foster, spokeswoman for Drinkaware, a charity that promotes responsible drinking, said, "We are particularly interested in understanding the psychology behind consumer behavior, so being able to conduct experiments in the pub environment is going to be hugely valuable."