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Individual bars may be considered to be disreputable, sinister, or even a detriment to the community. This was especially true in earlier times:
“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. However, this usage has since become obsolete.
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