Everett, Wash., wants bikini baristas to cover up

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Washington State could arguably be called the epicenter of the modern coffee revolution. The state is chock full of coffee shops — both chains and local mom and pops. The undisputable king of coffee chains — Starbucks — is headquartered in Seattle, a city that was, not surprisingly, ranked recently as the country’s best city for coffee based on factors that included the number of highly rated coffee shops on Yelp and the number of roasting facilities in each location. I think it’s safe to say that Washington is a coffee drinking state.

But if you’re a coffee entrepreneur in Everett, Wash., a city of about 100,000 people located 25 miles north of Seattle, you may find that there’s something else brewing. The town is pushing to ban bikini baristas.

I’m assuming you can figure out what a bikini barista does. She’s serving you coffee, of course. She’s just wearing a few less garments than the typical barista. You can find bikini baristas at Hillbilly Hotties — a chain of stands in the area named not for the temperature of its brews. The chain has been the target of complaints in the past — some for baristas allegedly serving more than just a cappuccino.

That was more than three years ago, but today the barista battle still rages. Seattle’s Fox Q13 is quick is quick to point out that there only about half a dozen bikini barista stands in the town. But the level of complaints is high. So a barista dress code, which requires at least a tank top and a few more inches of clothing down below, is now being put to the vote this spring.

Not everyone’s in favor of the proposed new dress code. “It would be less profitable,” one barista (whose work uniform is a set of pasties and a thong) pointed out in the Fox Q13 report.

If the law does pass, she says she’ll look for another place to brew coffee.


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