A small Spokane, Wash.-based bikini espresso chain is testing the limits of public decency, offering “topless” promotions and drawing protests from citizen groups.
XXXtreme Espresso, which operates three drive-throughs in the area, recently began offering “Topless Tuesdays and Thursdays,” during which the young female baristas lose the top half of their already scant outfits, wearing only star-shaped pasties to cover their nipples (“Clothes or no clothes, this coffee is damn good!” is a company tagline).
Of course, this has not played well with local groups like the Coalition for Community Values, which, according to a recent Spokesman-Review report, rallied some 200 concerned citizens to the city hall chambers to protest the XXXtreme business practices, arguing that the coffee stands should be regulated as adult entertainment clubs.
XXXtreme has fought back, urging its patrons to sign a petition characterizing the drive-throughs as good old-fashioned neighborhood coffee stands with extra friendly baristas. Owner Sarah Birnel, who incidentally has a nice little rap sheet, insists the company is not in violation of any local laws, and that she’s simply helping young women make a little extra tip money.
Here is Birnel’s perspective, as reported by the Spokesman-Review (including one of the oddest descriptions of a source you’ll ever see):
“I feel bad people are offended by it, but at the same time, this is my life,” said owner Sarah Birnel, a tall, thin woman with big brown eyes. “I’m not trying to get in any trouble. If I do … obviously I’m done.”
Nick Brown is the editorial director of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.