Cities Clamp Down on 'Bikini Baristas' Serving Up 'Sexpressos', Friday, February 05, 2010
EVERETT, Washington — Coffee shops in the Seattle area introduced "bikini baristas" three years ago, hiring attractive young women to serve up steamy espressos and lattes while wearing as little as a G-string and pasties. (there is no information that indicates the women in the photo are part of the prostitution charges).
But cities are now taking a closer look at the "sexpresso" stand craze after police investigations revealed that some baristas were serving coffee with a side of something not even legal at many strip clubs.
Five bikini baristas in Everett, north of Seattle, are accused of charging up to $80 to let customers fondle or photograph them as they put on erotic shows — sometimes in view of passing traffic. They face court dates on prostitution charges this month.
In images so graphic that officials were reluctant to release them under public disclosure requests, undercover officers photographed them spreading their legs while wearing while wearing crotchless panties or licking whipped cream off each other's exposed pubic regions. While such acts may not constitute traditional prostitution, authorities say they met the legal definition of engaging in sexual conduct for a fee.
"This is not Malibu Barbie standing at a coffee stand selling coffee," said City of Everett spokeswoman Kate Reardon. "We had citations for prostitution. That's totally different."
The bikini barista trend emerged in recent years as some espresso stands sought to stand out amid the heavy competition for coffee business in a region that is home to Starbucks.
There are now dozens of such shops in the region, with names like Brewlesque, Twin Perks and Java Juggs. They're typically stand-alone shacks along roadsides or in parking lots, often noticeable for their come-hither signs — "some like it hot," for example — and a long line of pick-up trucks at the window.
The bikini shops have always stirred up controversy, with some cities threatening to shut them down unless their employees covered up. But communities have changed their laws in recent months in response to growing complaints that the bikini baristas aren't actually wearing bikinis anymore, more from this source..........
Bill Warner Director of CSPI..Covert Surveillance by Private Investigators at WBI Inc.