EVERETT, Wash. — When we pulled up to Hillbilly Hotties bikini barista stand, the woman making the coffee was mostly naked — just some pasties and a thong.
“When I first did it, it was kind of weird … I said, I don’t know how I feel about it,” Kat said.
Now six years later, the woman known as Kat says she enjoys the industry.
“Ninety percent of the people who come through don’t talk to you as if you weren’t wearing clothes,” Kat said.
There are fewer than a half-dozen bikini barista stands in Everett, yet the city says it is draining a lot of resources investigating complaints.
“We know criminal activity isn’t happening at every barista stand, but our experience has been this type of business model does tend to allow for that criminal activity,” City of Everett spokesperson Meghan Pembroke said.
In 2009, Q13 News cameras caught a bikini barista selling a strip show instead of coffee and some have been investigated for prostitution in the past.
So now the city of Everett is considering an ordinance that would require bikini baristas to cover up.
The city showed us an example of the new conservative dress code. Bikini baristas would be required to wear a tank top and clothing that covers the bottom part of their body.
“People like to go to stands for the coffee and the company, it’s not about going to the stands because that girl is not wearing any clothes,” said Matt Dunbar.
Dunbar, however, supports the city's idea.
And Kat knows it would affect her earning potential.
“It would be less profitable.”
Kat says if the ordinance passes in Everett, she will find another city to brew coffee. She is scantily clad and said it’s OK for customers to look.
“I understand that they will sneak a peek while I make their coffee, that is what they are here for,” Kat said.
But she adds that for most bikini baristas, that is where it ends.
“Those people who take it a little bit further, I just quickly shut the window on them and I tell them, I won’t service you,” Kat said.
The ordinance is expected to be introduced sometime this spring. The city will hold three public hearings before it makes a final decision. If the City Council passes it, the new rules will go into effect in 90 days.
The city says if baristas violate the rules, they will face civil fines. The ordinance will also target the owners of the stands -- and not just the baristas.
The city says if a stand owner does not want baristas to cover up, they will have to apply for an adult entertainment license similar to a strip club. But that requirement comes with a lot of hurdles and restrictions on where they can set up shop.