This isn't the first controversial door policy this bar has had, either.
The modern usage of the word “literally” is a major pet peeve for a lot of people. Heck, even the dictionary got fed up with it. The word’s literal meaning has been misused so much that Google includes a second, informal definition for the word: “used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.” So seeing as literally any use of “literally” can technically be correct, most people just kind of quietly roll their eyes when they hear the word used too much. But a bar in New York City decided to take a more drastic approach: The owner has banned the use of the word entirely.
Continental – an East Village mainstay that used to be known for its punk rock shows but became a dive bar with an infamous five-shots-for-$12 drink special – found its way onto Twitter yesterday when a user posted a photo of a sign hung in a front window. “Sorry but if you say the word ‘literally’ inside Continental you have 5 minutes to finish your drink and then you must leave,” it reads. “If you actually start a sentence with ‘I literally’ you must leave immediately!!! This is the most overused, annoying word in the English language and we will not tolerate it. Stop Kardashianism now!”
Upon seeing the tweet, New York’s Grub Street reached out to Continental owner Trigger Smith, who confirmed that he hung the sign up about a week ago. He said it’s meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but he is genuinely concerned for the English language. “Since it’s English, it’s probably happening in England, and maybe Australia,” he told the site. “I had a woman from Miami the other night tell me it’s happening down there…. And it’s not just millennials. Now you hear newscasters using ‘literally’ every three minutes on the Sunday news shows. What’s annoying is people aren’t even aware they’re saying it. How could you be so unaware of your words that it’s coming out every couple minutes?”
This isn't the first time the Continental's door policy has caused a stir, either. In 2010, civil rights groups called out the bar's "no saggy jeans" policy as racist, which led to an investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. You can read the owner's full defense on the bar's website.
The whole thing is a bit of a moot point, however. The bar is slated to close this June after 27 years in business, thanks to a developer who reportedly bought it and a couple adjacent buildings for $150 million. So in that regard, the new “literally” policy literally won’t even exist after that. Consider it a figurative insult to injury.