New York City bar bans customers who use the word 'literally'

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Those who “literally can’t even” are going to have to find a new bar to patron.

The Continental, in New York City’s East Village, has banned use of the word “literally” in its establishment, calling the word “the most overused, annoying word in the English language.”

In a sign prominently displayed at the bar, the owners warn those who “say the word ‘literally’ inside Continental you have 5 minutes to finish your drink and then you must leave. If you actually start a sentence with ‘I literally’ you must leave immediately!!!”

“Stop Kardashianism now!” the flyer ends.


Owner Trigger Smith told Grub Street that the notice has been hanging in the bar for five or six days, but just recently started gaining notoriety.

While Smith says the policy is tongue-in-cheek, he does have a loathing for the word.

“Since it’s English, it’s probably happening in England, and maybe Australia,” he tells Grub Street. “I had a woman from Miami the other night tell me it’s happening down there.”

“And it’s not just millennials,” he added. “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?”

Many found the posting to be humorous, but not everyone was a fan of the new policy.

One woman on Twitter found the ban to be sexist, writing, “People like this don't give a s--- about language. They're just self-important, generally misogynistic blow hards who get off on feeling superior to (mostly) young women.”

“By the way, this is the East Village bar that offers '5 shots of anything for $10' — presumably because they are valiant defenders and purveyors of highbrow culture, so keep your hyperbole out of their hallowed halls,” she continued.

Another woman was similarly offended, tweeting, “Cool, so never spending money here! Though, even if they didn't have this sign I'm sure the bartender with the vest and waxed mustache would be enough of a warning anyway...”


Smith finds the comments laughable, calling the accusations of sexism to be “even funnier than the sign.”

“Anybody who knows me knows I’m a feminist who supports women’s rights and is 100 percent behind this whole ‘Me Too’ thing. I guess people will find an issue in anything.”

Smith's feelings about the matter might be best summed up by a sign he says hangs in the bathroom: The customer is always wrong.

This isn’t the first time the Continental has made waves. The dive, frequented by The Ramones front man Joey Ramone, and punk icon Iggy Pop, was attacked for an "unwritten dress code" that banned “saggy jeans.” Some found the policy to be racist, while others lauded the dress code change.