Continental cleared of accusations about door policy

The city has dismissed complaints that the Third Ave. bar had discriminated against people of color. Photo by Jefferson Siegel

The city has dismissed complaints that the Third Ave. bar had discriminated against people of color. Photo by Jefferson Siegel

BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL  |  A popular East Village bar has been cleared of complaints that its door policy was discriminatory.

Continental bar on Third Ave. at St. Mark’s Place was the target of complaints filed with the city’s Commission on Human Rights, as well as several demonstrations that were organized by the group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.). Two complaints filed with C.H.R. claimed people of color were denied entry to the bar while others easily passed the bouncers’ scrutiny.

Protests drew dozens to the bar several times in 2011. There was even a Facebook page critical of the bar’s purported door policy. The bar’s owner goes by the name Trigger and sometimes Trigger Smith.

“As I have said all along, my only interest in having any door policy whatsoever is to have a safe and comfortable atmosphere in my bar by keeping out any ‘over the top’ element, be it saggy/baggy jean wearers, Jersey Shore knucklehead types or anyone else that we feel might be more trouble inside the bar than keeping outside,” Trigger said when informed of the commission’s rulings.

“I’d rather pass on the drink sales I’m losing by not letting them in, for the overall safety of the rest of our customers who just want to have a good time hassle-free,” he added.

“Both complaints [against Continental] are closed,” Clifford Mulqueen, deputy commissioner and general counsel of C.H.R., told The Villager last week. “We found no probable cause to believe discrimination occurred. The ownership of the bar provided us with videotapes showing customers that were going in and out. There was no indication that people of color were being turned away. People of color were being admitted.”

Mulqueen noted that there were no other similar complaints currently outstanding against the bar.

Continental, which opened in 1991, used to feature live rock bands nightly. But the music scene shifted to the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, and in 2006, Trigger reluctantly transformed it into a cheap shots bar — and finally actually started making money on the place.

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One Response to Continental cleared of accusations about door policy

  1. TriggerContinental

    Jefferson and Lincoln- thanks for ruining what should have been an affirmation of the THIRD not SECOND decision re myself and my bar's door policy. mentioning this supposed quote "Your people don't know how to act" from one of my exclusively, black bouncers to a would be black customer made no sense 2 years ago and makes even less sense now. None of my bouncers would EVER say something like this but thanks for bringing it up again two and ahalf years later.
    I let Jefferson's comment slide, a couple of years ago "Triggers comment that he doesn't let in Jersey Shore knucklehead types in either seems hypocritical because his website offers driving directions from Jersey!" Jefferson- are you saying that everyone from New Jersey is a knucklehead?? I certainly never said that!
    i let that one go cause I felt that The Villager was at least being fair, objective and professional. I still mostly feel that way however not being thorough and consistent and also stirring up this drama once again recycling that imaginary, extremely, inflammable and unprovable quote undermines the fact that these allegations have ALL been dismissed THREE OUT OF THREE TIMES!!! I don't think this was mean spirited on your parts- just lazy journalism.

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