The Continental, a divey mainstay of Manhattan’s East Village neighbourhood since 1991, will be shutting its doors for good on July 1 of this year. As it slouches towards extinction, though, it’s certainly going out with a bang. If you’re lucky enough to get past the bouncers and through the doors of a place that’s made headlines for banning people with saggy pants and has a whole page on its official website dedicated to its “DISCRIMINATORY DOOR POLICY?”, you better watch your dumb mouth and not get too loose with the word “literally.”
A sign posted on the bar’s facade, EV Grieve reported last Wednesday after a reader alerted the publication to it the day prior, warned patrons against using the word “literally” for any reason once they’re inside the bar. If you’re caught using that word, the sign warns, you’ll have five minutes to suck down your drink and leave the bar.
"Sorry but if you say the word 'literally' inside the Continental you have 5 minutes to finish your drink and then you must leave," the sign reads. "If you actually start a sentence with 'I literally' you must leave immediately!!!"
Wow! OK! I heard you!
The sign’s stated justification for enforcing this punitive policy is that the word is the "most overused, annoying word in the English language." By last Thursday, EV Grieve reported, an updated version of the sign was posted with a line that clarified the stance somewhat: “Stop Kardashianism now!”
It’s no news that “literally” is perhaps the most fraught adverb of all time, a fact that’s been established well before the Kardashian era. It’s annoyed a number of linguistic purists who’re peeved by how the word is misused casually and recklessly in place of its cousin “figuratively,” sprinkling sentences where it doesn’t belong.
The bar’s owner, Trigger Smith, could not be reached for immediate comment by MUNCHIES on Thursday, though he told Grub Street on Wednesday that this sign was meant in jest. He expressed confusion as to why the reaction to the sign on social wasn’t exactly too peachy, taking umbrage, in particular, with the accusation that his policy has a whiff of sexism. He finds this critique baseless.
“Anybody who knows me knows I’m a feminist who supports women’s rights and is 100 percent behind this whole ‘Me Too’ thing,” he told Grub Street. “I guess people will find an issue in anything.”
Er, OK. Anyway, the Continental happens to be in a neighbourhood that’s teeming with over a dozen other options for getting hammered, so if you're really desperate to pepper your sentences with the L-word, you can always go to literally any other bar that won’t police your language so hawkishly. (Sorry.)