There are currently 45 Bug Bikini Espresso stands scattered throughout Washington state and Oregon, although there used to be one more. The owners recently closed their location in one Seattle neighborhood because of sluggish sales. Last Friday, they opened another coffee joint in the exact same spot, and according to one local source, business is "booming."
What's different? The baristas. This time, they've swapped the women in bikinis for shirtless dudes with bowties, and it seems to be the change that Capitol Hill coffee drinkers have been thirsty for. "I saw a hunky guy in there,” one local told KIRO 7. "There was a topless guy sitting in there with swollen pecs and what not [...] I've never seen anything like it and I was like yeah, hell yeah this is Capitol Hill. Bring it on." DreamBoyz Espresso is bringing it, if by 'it' you mean dudes in short shorts, with biceps the size of ripe cantaloupes. "Fitness is what my passion is,” new Dreamboy Brandon Peters told the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. “I worked at Starbucks a couple years back, enjoyed being a barista, however it wasn’t enough money, so when I saw this opportunity, I was like, in a way, I get to bring those things together.”
There are typically two baristas working in the small drive-thru only shop at a time, and the two of them split their tips at the end of the day. (The consensus from the Dreamboys themselves is that the tips are better than at Starbucks too.) Ja’shaun Williams, another new Dreamboy, said that the customers have been "appropriate and respectful" so far.
The owners say that they believe that Dreamboyz is the only coffee stand run by shirtless men in the entire state—but based on their 45 other operations, it probably won't be the only one for long. That's not to say that no one has tried it before: in 2010, the Barista Boyz coffee stand opened in Capitol Hill, and had pretty much the same idea. (Although in this case, the Boyz had to keep their shirts on until the school day ended at the nearby Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences.)
"It’s funny, the women are doing a double take," owner Dave Ray saidduring the shop's grand opening. "One woman turned bright red as she pointed at one of the Boyz. She clearly wanted to stop by, but her boyfriend was not so interested."
Dreamboyz Espresso will be holding its own grand opening soon—and let's hope these boyz and their "swollen pecs and whatnot" fare better than the previous ones. Barista Boyz barely lasted five months.