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Exotic Drinks

Scantily-clad 'bikini baristas' in Washington spark state battle

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Topless female baristas, like the ones at Bare Beans Expresso, wear just pasties over their nipples. (Zagat/YouTube)

"Bikini baristas" --employees that serve coffee wearing little to nothing -- have been a growing trend to perk up coffee sales.

But in Washington State, there’s a movement afoot to crack down on scantily-clad servers at drive-through coffee shops.

According to a new video from Zagat, Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan is part of efforts to mandate just how much clothing should be worn by barista babes.

Fagan told Zagat. "It should be all about the coffee and not all about the body."

He proposed an ordinance requiring coffee stands featuring bikini baristas to post signage indicating to the public what kind of "uniforms" their employees might be wearing  ensure employees be indoors and out of the public's view.  In July, the proposal was shot down --the latest in a string of attempts to try to restrict the baristas over the years.

Warning: Not appropriate for all viewers.

"There are a lot of business owners out there that are still trying to figure out how to build a better mouse trap," said Fagan about selling skin with food and drink. "Unfortunately, here in the city of Spokane, that better mouse trap, in their minds, would be to sell sex."

Most coffee huts sport workers wearing revelaing bikinis.  Some like Bare Beans Expresso wear just pasties over their nipples. According ABC News, Sarah Birnel, a former coffee shop owner who owned three Spokane bikini barista stands in 2013, said her sales doubled after adding half-naked women to the mix.

And it’s not just half dressed women.  There’s an all-male drive through coffee shop called “The Banana Hammock,” for example.

Not everyone is happy about the saucy staff. There have been protests and petitions and appleas to council members.  But so far nothing has worked.

Also safety is a growing concern after a female barista last week succumbed to injuries she received in a freak propane explosion at her stand.

Apparently, workers don't mind the work.  One male barista told Zagat:

“The way we perceive ourself isn’t sexual…the way we perceive ourself is very professional. We don’t treat it in a sexual manner.”