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

abcNEWS

By NEAL KARLINSKY, CHRIS MURPHEY and LAUREN EFFRON Neal Karlinsky

Drive-thru coffee stand owners in Spokane, Washington, are employing a scantily-clad business tactic that has boosted sales — and complaints.

This is the city of the so-called “bikini barista,” where topless baristas wearing pasties serve coffee from drive-true coffee stands that have names like “Bare Beans,” “Big Shots” and “Devil’s Brew.”

Screenshot 2015-04-19 15.33.34“We are selling coffee,” said Kiersten Silva, 22. “Just coffee with a pretty smile, maybe, and some boobie action sometimes.”

“You have to be outgoing to do this kind of thing, you can’t be shy,” said Devil’s Brew barista Sarah Patterson, 20.

Despite appearances, some baristas said ogling isn’t much of a problem.

“Every once in a while you’ll get a creepy one that say some weird stuff to you, but it doesn’t really happen that much,” said Caila Cronin, 22.

The odd phenomenon of teaming coffee with sex appeal has been growing across the West and seems to have started in Seattle, where one of the original business owners told us in 2007 that the idea was catching on quick.

If you’re wondering who would have the chutzpa to put women up to this kind of thing, what some see as degrading, you’re probably not imaging that person is Sarah Birnel, a mother of three who admits she could never be a bikini barista herself.

“A guy would never survive owning this business,” Sarah Birnel said. “You’ve got to say things and talk to these girls in ways that aren’t typical. A guy talking to them in that way is opening a door for a lawsuit, in my opinion.”

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