June 17, 2014

Bikini baristas now serving coffee in Fresno shops

Two new businesses with women serving coffee in bikinis are opening in northwest Fresno, just months after scantily clad women at a drive-thru in Clovis raised eyebrows among some neighbors.

Pink Pantherz Espresso is a drive-thru that will open Friday in the former Planet Java at the northeast corner of Shaw and Brawley avenues.

Java Girls Espresso, a sit-down coffee shop, opened at 5322 W. Spruce Ave. just north of Herndon Avenue in early April.

"Basically, we're a coffee shop, but we're in bikinis," said "Nikki," who was wearing a leopard-print bikini, sandals and large gold hoop earrings Tuesday. She, like other workers, uses a stage name.

Owners of both Fresno businesses say they don't expect the backlash that Bottom's Up in Clovis faced this year after a Clovis woman led a petition drive against the business' dress code and racy drink names. The Bottom's Up owner agreed in May to tone down some of the drink names referencing sexual acts after the petition was delivered to the Clovis City Council.

The Clovis attorney said the business wasn't violating any rules with its workers' skimpy clothing.

A Fresno representative said Tuesday that he hadn't heard any complaints about the new businesses and added that as long as there was no nudity, the city could not regulate what the employees wear.

At Java Girls, workers point out that specialty drinks have tamer names, such as "German Chocolate Cake" and "Angel Kiss" -- not like Bottom's Up's "Get Lai'ed" and "The Big O."

And the clothing is not too revealing, they say.

"What you see in a water park is exactly what you see here," said co-owner Abdullah "Abby" Bahar. "This is not a strip club. This is classier, sexier."

Workers wear bikinis or small crop tops and are not allowed to show more than half their buttocks -- meaning no thongs -- or too much cleavage, Nikki said.

Bahar said he's had only one person complain about the business because of its skin-baring baristas.

The business is kid friendly, with teen girls and boys coming in alone and parents bringing in their children, he said. One couple brings their 6-year-old daughter to karaoke nights, which run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays.

Java Girls also has free Wi-Fi and six TVs for sporting events. Bahar and Nikki tout the quality of the coffee, along with the tea, smoothies and energy drinks the business also serves. It's open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

It is the only Java Girls owned by Bahar, and the only one in California. There are about a dozen others throughout the United States.

At Pink Pantherz, the owner was busy painting the kiosk at 3862 W. Shaw Ave. a shade of hot pink Tuesday.

Workers there will wear bikinis or lingerie but "have to wear what they usually wear at a beach," said owner Jose Carmona.

Drinks will have names such as "booty call," but "they're not horrible" names, he said.

He and his wife bought the Pink Pantherz business in January and have another location in Modesto. They are about to open another location in Carmichael.

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