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What Are Bikini Baristas?

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Shuck72 has over 20 years of experience working in the child support industry and working with clients on tax issues.

Bikini barista

Bikini barista

What's a Bikini Barista?

The Pacific Northwest, especially Washington State, is the birthplace and home to the bikini barista drive-through stand craze. A bikini barista is exactly what it sounds like—a young woman in a bikini (and sometimes less), serving coffee.

It's no wonder these drive-through stands are so popular in the Pacific Northwest, as it tends to be dark and rainy much of the time. Thanks to the constant downpour of rain in Washington State, you're more likely to see Bigfoot than you are a woman wearing a bikini! A bikini barista stand would never work in Miami Beach, where nearly every woman walking down the street is wearing a bikini.

It's a simple logic of supply and demand: in a place where women are covered in layers of sweaters and jackets most of the time, customers will gladly pay a bit extra for their coffee to see a cute girl in a bikini serving them with a smile.

Bikini barista

Bikini barista

What Can You Expect?

When you drive through a bikini barista stand, you will pull up and be greeted by a woman wearing a bikini and sometimes lingerie, and occasionally even just pasties. Depending on the stand you visit, the barista may be a college student making some easy money, a former stay-at-home mom, and sometimes even a stripper!

Stands in seedier areas tend to have rougher-looking girls than stands in the better parts of town or near college campuses.

The process is to drive up, order, and make some small talk while you get to stare at an attractive, barely dressed young woman. Don't expect the coffee to be up to the standards of your normal coffee stands. Making a good latte is not the most desired skill when these stands do their hiring.

That said, keep your order simple, and you will usually get a passable drink at a reasonable price. Typically a standard mocha or latte will not cost much more than at a normal coffee stand, but you should be generous with your tips. The girl is, after all, going above the call of duty by hanging out all day in a coffee shack with her butt being ogled.

Bikini barista team

Bikini barista team

Theme Days and Other Activities

Most stands will have theme days such as Seahawks Day, where the girls will wear football-inspired outfits. Others include Cowgirl day, schoolgirl day, and even topless Tuesdays, where the girls wear pasties and little else.

Some stands will also offer extras, such as wet T-shirt baristas. For $10, the customer is handed a squirt gun and can soak the barista's T-shirt. It's juvenile, but harmless fun.

The Bad

For the most part, bikini barista stands are harmless. Drive up, get a coffee and chat with a cute girl.

Some stands have crossed the line, however. In Everett, WA, which is the bikini capital of the world, there have been stings by undercover police officers who have caught girls flashing customers for $10 or $20 tips. Many of these stands are visible from the street and obviously, people driving by with their kids in the cars do not need to see this sort of nonsense.

A recent bust of some of the bikini barista stands found a dirty cop who was tipping off the baristas of upcoming stings in exchange for sexual favors.

These kinds of stands are however rare and mostly located in the same area in South Everett in a seedier part of town. The recent police stings should also slow down this kind of behavior in the future.

The Good

Not all bikini barista stands are bad and staffed with out-of-work strippers looking to make some big tips doing inappropriate things.

For every stand that gets busted by the cops for lewd behavior, there are twenty that are obeying the law. Many of the women working in these stands are twenty-something women who can't make nearly the money they make waitressing or working minimum wage jobs.

They are paid well without having to break the law and most do not make a career out of this industry.

Bikini baristas are ultimately a kitschy invention of the Northwest and, for the most part, a harmless business venture.