MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Everett to vote on confirming dress codes for bikini baristas after settlement

Apr 8, 2024, 1:47 PM | Updated: 3:26 pm

bikini baristas...

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Will Everett bikini baristas have to adhere to the city’s lewd dress code? The Everett City Council will decide later this month with a vote.

If the city amendment passes a council vote, employees at “quick service facilities” — including bikini barista stands — will be required to adhere to the city’s lewd conduct dress standards. Bikini barista stands are coffee establishments, typically tiny drive-thru stands, with employees wearing bikinis or other scantily-clad clothing as they serve customers coffee. Originating in the Pacific Northwest, stands have begun to open in other areas including California, Arizona and Montana.

The business model became a revelation through social media, with the hashtag “bikini barista” and other similar hashtags have been viewed nearly half a billion times on TikTok, according to Vice. One bikini barista in Washington recently claimed on TikTok that she makes $700 to $800 in tips “on a good day.”

Last year, the City of Everett had to pay Jovanna Edge, an owner of a bikini barista stand called Hillbilly Hotties, $500,000 in a settlement. This decision followed a 2022 ruling by the U.S. District Court, stating the previous city ordinance unfairly targeted women.

Edge claimed its dress code ordinance infringed on their First Amendment rights, with a U.S. District Court judge agreeing.

More on the Everett settlement: City of Everett pays $500K settlement over bikini barista ordinance

Under the settlement, the city will retain most of its existing rules, but no longer dictate that baristas must wear at least tank tops and shorts — which was the requirement from the previous lewd ordinance. Rather, the city agreed to align the dress code rules with an updated lewd conduct standard which makes it a crime to publicly expose too much of one’s private parts.

The city can revoke a stand owner’s business license upon three infractions for violations of the current standard. The amendment took a year to present to the council because of delays within the legal process.

“With this amendment, the only real effect is on the stand owners,” Assistant City Attorney Ramsey Rammerman said at the city council meeting last week, according to The Everett Herald. “No additional burden is put on the baristas.”

The Gee and Ursula Show comments on upcoming vote

Ursula Reutin, host of “The Gee and Ursula Show” on KIRO Newsradio brought up the vote on her show.

“It just feels like this is so much to do about nothing. My feeling on the whole bikini baristas thing is if you don’t like them, don’t go,” said Reutin.

Andrew Lanier, producer of The Gee and Ursula Show, said one reason people go to bikini barista stands is to feel a connection.

“My feeling on them, and this goes for strip clubs as well, there are vast numbers of men out there who are deeply lonely. And the vast majority of people who visit these places don’t go just for the titillation factor. I’m not kidding. They go because they want to have a kind, female presence, someone who smiles at them,” Lanier said.

I’m not joking. Not joking at all. If you ask adult dancers what their clientele is like, they will tell you a large percentage, is single lonely men or married lonely men,” he continued.

So what do we draw from this? Fill-in host Mike Lewis asked.

“Those lonely men have a place to go and you can wear pasties in public in Everett, great,” joked Lanier.

Danger at a bikini barista stand

A Kirkland police officer, accused of “odd behavior” toward bikini barista employees, resigned from his post on April 3. This decision followed an internal investigation by the Kirkland Police Department (KPD) after he was placed on paid leave.

Edge received reports from bikini baristas at Monroe, Snohomish and Everett locations that a black SUV would slowly approach the stand, pause and then take off. One employee claimed the black SUV crept forward to reach a position where the driver could see them change into their work attire. The vehicle would appear near the stands as early as 4 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

More dangerous activity near bikini baristas: Auburn coffee stand kidnapping suspect held on $500,000 bail

The SUV was later identified as a vehicle assigned to Lt. Timothy Carpenter. Edge filed three three trespass warnings against Carpenter, according to The Kirkland Reporter. Other employees stated he made lewd comments after purchasing a beverage, while others stated the car would drive off once the stand was open for business. Some employees claimed they saw the vehicle multiple times in a day, including one instance where he appeared twice within 15 minutes.

The city has subsequently reported the resignation to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, according to The Bellevue Reporter.

Contributing: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Everett to vote on confirming dress codes for bikini baristas after settlement