As you know a restaurant, hotel, bar, or place for entertainment or social activities that is unpleasant because of the condition of the building or the type of people that go there is called "dive" in informal English!

Example: The place is a real dive, but the drinks are cheap and the food's great.

I need to know whether there is an adjectival equivalent for the noun "dive" in this sense in English.

I would call it a "low-class place" or "not classy place", but I have no idea if they sound idiomatic to you too.

I.e. I wonder what word can be used in the following sentence?

That was a/an ............... place, but the drinks are cheap and the food's great.


I think the safest way to convey my exact intention to the listener would be using "dive" in a noun form and just say:

"this place / restaurant etc. is a (real) dive".

  • 1
    The most obvious choice is divey, but that's somewhat informal.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 22:50
  • 2
    You need a bit of US history. Many night clubs are to be found in basements, DOWN a flight of steps. It is probably these that were originally called 'dives'. They had the reputation of being sinful places, riddled with bootleged booze, crooks and sex, during the 'Prohibition' of 1020-33 (hence the reference to history). As far as I know, there is no adjective. Why? Because the noun itself IS an attribute. It's a dive. Some people are gamblers, but there is no adjective for that, either. You could coin one one: aleatorialistic, perhaps. But why?
    – Tuffy
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:34
  • 5
    The adjective is dive. You can say a dive bar, a dive restaurant, a dive motel, and a dive joint. (Although I wouldn't say dive place, because dive means exactly the same thing and is shorter.) Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:34
  • 4
    Related synonyms are sketchy, grungy, questionable. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 0:05
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    I would agree with @YosefBaskin Questionable seems to induce the same feeling as "Dive" to me. A dive is not only due to the interior, or styling of a place, it is more the overall atmosphere. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


The obvious choice is the adjective divey, which as Wiktionary states is derived from the noun "dive" in the relevant sense.

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