Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines dive as, among other things, "a disreputable entertainment establishment." The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, on the other hand, notes that the word, in its American sense of "a low resort for drinking" (a low resort? Is that like Death Valley Scotty's?) derives from the sense of the verb to dive , which means "to dart out of sight." To David (Cat) Cohen, founder of the Diver's Club of Los Angeles, though, a dive is a "great, cheap hole-in-the-wall eatery," an "obscure and often overlooked community cafe," and even a veritable "cultural treasure."
Cohen's group is on a bit of a crusade: He wants, he says, to help neighborhood restaurants survive, to give aid to places "that lack the money, time or skills to promote themselves." To this end, he offers his members a book of coupons good for 20% discounts at more than 20 "dive"-like establishments in the L.A. area (including Antojito's in El Monte, Habash Cafe in Hermosa Beach, Mary's Place in Silver Lake and Pieman's Soul Kitchen in Pacoima), a quarterly "dive gossip sheet" (including an "endangered dive list"), and discounts on the group's parties, publications and "diversphernalia."
For further information, contact the club at 6030 Wilshire Blvd. (penthouse), Los Angeles 90036, or call (213) 935-6194. ( Penthouse ? So much for darting out of sight.)