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Turning Back The Clock: Dive

November 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM | by | ()

We're not going to lie. We thought Dive was totes exciting (or, we guess, we should say da bomb) when it surfaced on The Strip back in 1995, anchoring itself to the Fashion Show Mall.

The submarine-themed restaurant was the creation of movie magic man Steven Spielberg, but fellow entertainment whiz Jeffrey Katzenberg and even casino mogul Steve Wynn were on board as partners. The plan was world domination with Orlando, San Fran and New York all mentioned as future locations and a spot already established in LA. The Orlando Sentinel once reported that the Vegas eatery saw 3,000 customers a day, and had "a 1 1/2 hour waiting line for lunch."

Just entering the restaurant was a spectacle with the bright yellow sub jutting out of its exterior, a wall of water splashing down the side of its 'hull' and an entrance that resembled a hatch. Inside, the chain resto was just as entertaining (hey, we were easily amused back then), as remembered by seeing-stars.com:

...the decor resembles something you might find at a Disneyland theme restaurant: a maze of metal catwalks, exposed conduits, pressure gauges, throttles, control panels, sonar screens, and artfully-placed video screens filled with images of fish and blue underwater scenes.

On the menu? What else, but mostly subs. And, of course, every so often the restaurant came to life and, umm, 'dived.' Really, any cheeztastic way execs could remind us that it was all about the submarine experience, they went there. VegasChatter reader girlygirl recalls the kitsch of it all:

I remember being startled more than once when "Dive" came over the loud speaker and water shot out of the sub on the outside of the mall. I never did eat there because they were always so busy, but I heard the food was great. I also remember how hot the summer weather was and how we would go out of our way to walk in front of the Fashion Show Mall as they had those water misters you could walk under. AHHHHH.

Dive tanked (sorry) just a few years after it began, though, in 1999. At that time it had also established a venue in Barcelona. Financial problems were blamed. Back in 1995, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Vegas locale only earned a third of what was expected for its first year. And, that 40 percent of those profits were made on retail sales. Oh, the things you buy when on vacay.

We know some of you have a photo of yourself in front of Dive. Or, even have one of those Vegas souvenirs stashed away. If that's you, share a pic with us at tips@vegaschatter.com and we'll add it to this post!

11.9 Update: A huge thanks to VegasChatter fan Jeremy who shared the attached photo gallery of a Dive menu from 1998!

(PHOTO: home.earthlink.net)

Archived Comments:

Quite puzzled

How on Earth could all those financial wizards/moguls go into business together, serve thousands a day, sell tons of knick knacks on top of it, and still fail? Ouch, that smarts. Sounds like a Titanic version of Rainforest Cafe that literally sank.

I know, right?

Seeing the long lines, I am surprised Dive would go out of business.
It was a cool concept. I miss the "themes" in LV when
the TI had the skull and crossbones sign,Luxor had the Nile river, and there was a wizard sitting above the Excaliber. Sigh........

Closing date

DIVE! closed in December of 2000, not 1999. The long lines were only during the first few years. During the last year or so you could hear crickets in the dining room.


The LA Dive closed in 1999.

Why Dive! Failed

I worked there as a server for a while. I miss my peeps! The primary reason it failed is the foot traffic on the strip shifted away from the Fashion Show Mall and gravitated more towards Mandalay Bay and people stopped walking past Bellagio. When the restaurant first opened it was averaging $30,000 a day. Two years later it was slightly more than half of that. It was also an extremely large restaurant that was expensive to lease and maintain. The upstairs was typically only open on weekends and for special corporate events. Had the foot traffic remained heavy in that part of the strip back then it would have survived, but the strip is an ever evolving arena of what's hot and what's not.