Dive bar is a colloquial or informal English term for a somewhat[vague] disreputable bar or pub. Such bars may also be referred to as neighborhood bars, where local residents gather to drink and socialize.
Individual bars may be considered to be disreputable, sinister, of poor upkeep, or even a detriment to the community. This was especially true in the past:
“The dives themselves are nuisances, per se, and that is why they have to pay such high license prices.”
A 1961 dictionary defined a "dive" as "a disreputable resort for drinking or entertainment."
In an article in its August 2010 issue, Playboy magazine described a dive bar as:
A church for down-and-outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows—bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities. It’s a place that wears its history proudly.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary indicates that in the United States in the 1880s the term referred to an illegal drinking den or other place of ill repute, especially one located in a basement. This usage later became obsolete.
- "I Love This Bar," a song performed by Toby Keith, is about a dive bar.
- "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, is about a lonely man sitting in a dive bar owned by "Joe," to whom the man tells his troubles.
- The 1987 film Barfly is a semi-fictional story of poet/author Charles Bukowski during the time when he was drinking heavily in Los Angeles dive bars. The film features a silent cameo appearance by Bukowski.
- The television show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is set in a dive bar in South Philadelphia.
- In The Simpsons, Moe's Tavern is a dive bar in Springfield which is frequented by Homer Simpson, Carl Carlson, Lenny Leonard and Barney Gumble. The tavern is named after, and run by, Moe Szyslak.
- In American Dad!, Roger owns and runs his own dive bar, Roger's Place, from the attic of the Smith house.
- The Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives highlights unique foods and drinks served in dive bars.
- The lyrics of the Pet Shop Boys song West End Girls include "In a restaurant in a West End town call the police there's a madman around running down underground to a dive bar In a West End town."
- Troy Daily Times (Troy, Michigan). 7 February 1888. Missing or empty
- Odd Wisconsin Archive, third paragraph.
- Chicago Tribune. 17 September 1948. p. 8/1. Missing or empty
- Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language. Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Co. 1961. p. 662.
- Wallace, Glenn (24 July 2010). "Jasper’s makes list of top ‘dive bars’". Lompoc Record.
- Dayton, Todd (2004). San Francisco's Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City by the Bay. Ig Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703125-8-7.
- Moehringer, J. R. (1 September 2005). The Tender Bar: A Memoir. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-1-4013-8341-1.
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