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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Your coffee order includes a six-pack at Spokane stand

Chris Mullins, owner of Hot Cup of Joe, hands customer Kayte Gier her espresso drink Wednesday. The espresso stand at the intersection of Ash Street and Spofford Avenue in Spokane features shirtless barista men. (Colin Mulvany)
Chris Mullins, owner of Hot Cup of Joe, hands customer Kayte Gier her espresso drink Wednesday. The espresso stand at the intersection of Ash Street and Spofford Avenue in Spokane features shirtless barista men. (Colin Mulvany)

First came the nearly nude jiggling barista gals at XXXtreme Espresso.

Now come the bare-chested beefcake boys, flaunting their tanned man muscles at Hot Cup of Joe.

Look, I don’t want to go Old Testament on you. But if this naughty coffee trend continues, I fear Spokane could turn into another …

Sodom and Cremora.

To get a look at this latest development on the caffeine scene, I motored over to the northeast corner of Spofford and Ash on Wednesday and found:

“Tailor’s Bean Shack Espresso.”


I soon discovered that this sign was from the former enterprise, which perhaps had to sell because the baristas wore too many garments.

That’s definitely not the problem now.

At Hot Cup, 28-year-old owner Chris Mullins and two employees were in a shirtless state with their underwear riding above their sagging blue jeans.

Unlike XXXtreme, now called Devil’s Brew, there are no tape-covered nipples here.

Although, when you think about it, “Tape-Covered Nipples” could make a great name for a punk band.

Finally, however, I could see what all the previous blubbering about nearly nude baristas has been about.

Seeing these topless lads with their six-pack abs was a serious blow to my body image.

I’ll give Mullins credit, however. The reception I got at Hot Cup was much warmer than the cold front I encountered last summer at XXXtreme Espresso.

“I don’t know …,” a taped and undraped barista told me in a jaundiced tone. “I just work here.”

Mullins not only invited me into the cramped confines of his coffee shack, but he even cleared off a plastic tub for me to park on.

Business was really humming. I watched as one customer after another rolled up to the drive-through window to place an order or snap a cellphone photo – or both.

“You should have been here Sunday,” said Mullins. “It was absolutely amazing.”

Mullins said he got into this by following the “do what you know” philosophy.

Which makes perfect sense considering that Mullins is an ex-stripper.

The Hot Cup of Joe grand opening was held last Friday to what Mullins described as a highly positive reaction.

“And I feel really good about that,” he added. “I don’t want anyone to pull up and think that anything bad is happening.”

Of course not.

Out of sense of civic obligation, however, I had to try to stir up Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan.

Last year, a rare burst of sanity kept the council from passing the crazy Unlawful Public Exposure ordinance that Fagan cooked up.

Fagan had pushed the ordinance in an attempt to keep Spokanites safe from baristas who want to go Starbucks naked.

Despite the political defeat, Fagan said that there are citizens who are “right now on the street collecting signatures.”

Their aim is to get an anti-exposure ordinance placed on a Spokane ballot either this year or next year. (Similar nonsense was passed last year by the Spokane Valley City Council.)

“I can honestly say that I have created more jobs and businesses than Obama has,” joked Fagan about his impact on the bare barista trade.

Fagan has also been a boon to the column biz, too.

But as I’ve said before, I don’t give a flying coffee bean when it comes to what baristas wear or don’t wear when they’re working.

I did, however, find it insulting that Mullins laughed when I asked for a job application.

Oh, yeah? Well, maybe it’s time that we portly dudes started a shirtless espresso biz of our own.

Hot Tub of Dough, we could call it.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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