Spokane, a battleground in the bikini barista wars, soon will be home to a coffee shop staffed by shirtless men.
Owner Chris Mullins, 28, bought Tailor’s Bean Shack at 1602 N. Ash a month ago and has been prepping for his new business, Hot Cup of Joe. The grand opening is Friday.
He’s been busy telling his customers about his plans and has gotten mostly positive feedback. “Everybody we’ve had through has come back,” Mullins said. “Mostly it’s been good. Most of the customers that come here anyway are women. Really I haven’t had a lot of male reaction.”
Men will, however, receive a $1 discount if they visit the coffee stand. The stand will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m..
Mullins sees his new focus as equal opportunity, a counterpoint to the bikini barista stands. “This is something the women have been crying out for for a while,” he said.
The bikini coffee shops have faced opposition, particularly when they advertised topless Tuesdays. On those days the women wore nothing but g-strings and pasties. The city of Spokane considered but did not pass an ordinance regulating bikini barista attire while the city of Spokane Valley approved new rules setting barista clothing requirements.
Mullins said he has no interest in pushing the boundaries of modesty, though he says his employees may eventually wear only “cute, classy underwear” in addition to being shirtless. “We’re not going to be wearing thongs,” he said. “There’s not going to be any implied nudity.”
The experience for customers will be more about the entertainment than the coffee, Mullins said.