Bar That Banned ‘Literally’ Now Being Trashed Figuratively by Online Critics

People say they’re “literally” boycotting. Photo: Shanna Ravindra

Owner Trigger Smith made headlines this week after he hung a sign on the door of his East Village dive bar, Continental, threatening to ban anyone who uses the word literally. To recap, the sign reads, in part, “if you 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!!!” Now, online critics have taken note — and they aren’t happy!

Almost immediately, the sign and alleged policy were criticized as sexist, but Trigger argues that literally’s misusers extend to both genders and span the English-speaking globe. Also, he seems mostly pleased by the kerfuffle he’s caused; by now, major media all over the world have covered it. (“This thing is going global!” he wrote in a letter to Grub yesterday, calling the situation “too funny.”) Trigger also said that he doesn’t plan to boot violators for real; he’s making fun of slang that he dislikes, and his patrons “get it.” Of course, that defense just enlarged the target on Continental’s back.

Even NPR and professional lexicographers are now joining in the free-for-all:

Bar That Banned ‘Literally’ Now Being Trashed Figuratively