If you’ve ever walked around the East Village between the years of 2006 and 2018, chances are you’ve probably met Trigger Smith. The owner of the iconic East Village dive The Continental, Trigger was a fixture of the neighborhood, often seen in his recognizable conical rice hat.
If you’ve never passed by The Continental before, all you need to know about it is its famous sign – “5 Shots of ANYTHING – 10 Dollars ALL DAY/ALL NIGHT (yes we’re serious)“.
Perhaps the cheapest bar in the whole East Village, The Continental was notorious for its 2 dollar shots and its consistently packed house. Trigger was known for always hanging around his bar, making new friends and soaking up the atmosphere.
An East Village native, Trigger grew up on Avenue C for most of his life and rubbed shoulders with music icons like Johnny Ramone and Iggy Pop. The Continental was sometimes described as the very last holdout of East Village Punk, an ugly bastion of cheap drinks and loud music to staunch the creeping gentrification of St Mark’s. Unfortunately for the fans, The Continental closed its doors for good at the end of 2018, and any plans to revive it were quickly quashed by the 2020 pandemic.
Now Trigger is gearing up to open up a brand new concept, but he’s getting older and as he puts it, he’s “done babysitting millennials.” While he had a lot of fun managing The Continental over his lifetime, it’s time for a switch and he’s “never seen anyone act like an entitled douchebag from eating ice cream.”
You heard him right, ice cream. Transitioning from his hectic lifestyle as a bar owner, Trigger is finally planning on slowing things down with a brand new ice cream shop – Lucky Star Ice Cream. Featuring flavorful scoops of soft serve, hard ice cream, and Italian ices, Trigger is still planning out the menu as he continues to adjust to the needs of the community. While he opened up two stores in the summer, they were only open on a takeout basis. For his third store, he’ll be opening Lucky Star’s first full-brick-and-mortar location, at 135 Division Street.
Featuring 700 square feet of space and 50’s style atomic art painted by artist Tony Zito, the new location will be the first Lucky Star with an interior accessible to the public. A bar/club manager at heart, Trigger is deeply concerned with the in-person experience of his customers and hopes to construct a space where people can together for nice ice cream, open mics, and of course music events.
At the moment, Trigger is facing a difficult battle in acquiring the necessary liquor licenses. Not wanting another Continental on their hands, local neighbors have put up some resistance to the new store unless Trigger can prove to them that his new venture will be quieter than his last. But as far as Trigger is concerned, those days are behind him and all he wants now is a nice storefront where he can bring people together to have a good time and listen to some fun music.