Sex Sells… Coffee? Bikini Baristas Brew Up Controversy in Spokane, Wash.


“Kids come through often,” Silva said. “There is one little boy, he calls it ‘boobie coffee.’ He goes with his mom every morning and gets hot chocolate and she is completely normal and seems respectable and she doesn’t seem to mind that her son comes.”

But if the issue does reach a vote, Spokane’s coffee stand owners said they aren’t worried because they don’t think it stands a chance.

“You have to pass laws that apply to everybody,” Birnel said. “If they are going to tell these girls to cover up more, they are going to tell everybody to cover up more, and then it is just not going to sit well…[with] people at the beach, you, me, people walking down the road.”

And while the standoff between the bikini baristas and unhappy moms heated up, a new contender tried to jump into the fray -- former male stripper Chris Mullins just opened Spokane’s first half-naked male coffee stand.

“Everybody has been raising a stink about the bikini stands, and I was like, well, you know, I was a stripper at one point, this would be fun,” he said.

Mullins is scouting for locations to open a second stand, but so far, his business, which sells coffee and hot dogs, hasn’t quite taken off the way the ladies’ have. And, he said, no one has complained about his stand.

But Kimberly Curry and Hillary Van Akin insist that Mullins’ stand is not a double standard because shirtless men are publicly acceptable. They’re fine with the baristas wearing bikinis too, they said, just not the more provocative topless-with-pasties look.

“I feel like this is our community,” Van Akin said. “We want to set some sort of a standard for decency, and I think allowing anything like this is just the tipping point. It’s just going to keep escalating until it’s all over and it’s acceptable.”

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