Bremerton Steamed Up By Pastiegate

Until recently, Barista’s Coffee featured prominently pastries and pasties. Now it’s just pastries. Sort of.

That is, without claiming a “wardrobe malfunction,” baristas at the coffee drive-thru at Sixth Avenue and Naval Avenue wore pasties, which are defined by Wikipedia as “adhesive coverings applied to cover a person’s nipples.”

You’d think it was Janet Jackson’s mammary glands on display during the Super Bowl the way some media outlets have been chasing this rather tired, trite story on what is essentially a marketing ploy.

The dustup started when the coffee shop recently went “all pastie, all the time” Monday through Friday — and advertised as much on its reader board, which features a scantily clad hula girl with a great big smile.

City officials and police on Wednesday told the owner that pasties broke the law. Dress more modestly, or face the fire, they said.

The owner, Chris Tibbs, said his employees requested the new uniform protocol. He believes the city’s actions were heavy-handed and he immediately began shopping the story to local media, including the Kitsap Sun.

And most of us were all too eager to strike up a conversation about the finer points of anatomy and undergarments.

In his defense, Tibbs said the pasties worn by employees were “about the size of my hand” and are really “stringless bikini tops.”

(Not that I really have to, but I should mention that these employees are young women.)

The practice of stripping down to compete in the apparently cutthroat world of caffeine pushing isn’t new to the area. Both Gorst and Belfair have seen the fight for tips turn coffee houses into something resembling the Moulin Rouge. And they weren’t the first, either. There’s nothing original about it.

Nor is there anything original about the media interest. Sex is used to sell cars, underarm deodorant and children’s dolls. Why not use it to sell coffee and the news?

The pasties violate two laws, the city contends, one ordinance prohibiting “lewd” conduct and the other a code regulating adult businesses. The latter is a civil matter, the former is a criminal matter.

The pertinent definition of “lewd,” according to the city, is showing a portion of the breast below the areola.

A report was filed the same day with the Bremerton Police Department, as lewd conduct is a misdemeanor offense. The shop was given a warning.

Later Wednesday afternoon, after Tibbs heard from the city, the barista on duty was mixing drinks wearing a bikini top, the kind with strings. On Thursday, the barista was wearing a tank top.

A city official said she received “several” complaints about the pasties, although she was not able to provide any evidence of those complaints, or an exact number.

However, on Wednesday, the shop changed its reader board to include Bozeman’s office number, apparently hoping to stir up the customers who prefer their coffee served by a young woman unencumbered by clothing. Since the sign went up, the mayor’s office said it has received about “five or six” phone calls in support of the city’s action, but no calls in support of the business. (The office received one anti-pastie letter. – Binion, 8/8)

In a 90-minute interview Thursday in which Bozeman answered questions about the city’s lack of action in the troubled Anderson Cove neighborhood, SKIA, a daunting budget season and a business challenging the city’s plans for the waterfront, Bozeman declined to comment at length on Pastiegate.

“I’m just trying to uphold the law,” he said.

Likewise, city officials did not make themselves available to be filmed by two Seattle television crews on the issue.

(Click here for the KOMO story and here for the KIRO story)

“We could have cited him, but we didn’t,” said Roger Lubovich, city attorney. “We gave him a warning. It’s not lawful, they complied, and now it’s OK.”

12 thoughts on “Bremerton Steamed Up By Pastiegate

  1. Good Grief!

    Has Fox taken over the networks to such an extent that KOMO and KIRO are so desperate for news they want to film Bremerton city officials over ‘pasties’?

    Doing what – ogling pasties?

    Actually why shouldn’t beautiful downtown Bremerton get more coverage by having a contest between the pastie girls…maybe something to do with which girl has the most attractive pastie.

    Or have the girls line up to discover which girl can hover a pastie clad part of herself over a steaming cup of coffee – which girl’s pastie will fall into the coffee first?

    KOMO and KING can settle which one of them gets the coffee and used pastie.

    The prize could be … well, maybe a coat for winter.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. I hadn’t even heard of the controversy in Bremerton. I didn’t see it in the Kitsap Sun and I don’t have a T.V.

    I thought all the hoop te do was about Belfair. The blog on the Sun’s news article about the Belfair espresso stand had hit 128 posts or so in the first 48 hours. I think that is an all time record since the Sun set up it’s present system.

    A lot of the posts were part of a debate between the pro pasties and the antipasties who complained to the County Commissioners. The code in Mason County includes the exposure of any part of the buttocks too.
    The majority of people posting were pro pasties, but that included many that will really just anti prude.

  3. I’m still confused…preference to clothing aside, isn’t there some sort of OSHA requirements about appropriate clothing while handling food and hot liquid? Or is a \stringless\ nebikini and a hair net enough?

  4. Bremerton businesses should distinguish themselves from lesser communities such as Gorst and Belfair. Pasties are so done already. Go with your strengths: baristas with the best tattoos and piercings.

  5. many kids walk past this coffee stand ! It is not in gorst where the cars are flying by , you can clearly see in the stand from the side walks . These are former toys topless girls thinking they could do their thing in bremerton . you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig .

  6. The bare fact is that our culture has changed (like it or not) since the code about lewd conduct was written. The girl in the picture is in violation as are most women that wear today’s swim suits and many evening gowns with plunging necklines. A portion of the breast below the areola is exposed.

    Shouldn’t laws deal with reality instead of allowing some authority to arbitrarily decide whether to enforce the law or not? How many city police officers, council members or mayor have wives, daughters, or female relatives that violate this definition of “lewd” behavior at times? Pasties may be tacky, but cleavage is here to stay.

  7. “…laws deal with reality instead of allowing some authority to arbitrarily decide whether to enforce the law or not?…”

    I didn’t know enforcing laws were up for debate. Is ‘reality’ something apart from our laws?

    ‘Lewd’ doesn’t play a part in the dressing code….since a male or female person can demonstrate ‘lewd’ behavior while fully clothed.

    The girls are serving coffee wearing pasties or clothing more suited for topless bars as I see it but the employer should have the right to set the tone for their business… including clothed or not clothed employees.

    The town, city or county should have the right to set standards under which each business should comply…or the business should set up elsewhere.

    Most people wearing bathing suits are at a beach and plunging necklines on evening gowns are most often seen at parties … but if the employer wants to set the dressing code for their business, let them if the business meets all the requirements established by the town, city or county regulations.

    Cleavage is not only here to stay…it never left… but to be fair it is only right that we should have the scantily clad male coffee shop employee as well.

    Which business will be first to hire almost nude males in their coffee shop?
    Trouble is women generally raise the children and most would and often do invariably laugh at such a sight.
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. I guess I really don’t care about this issue; I simply choose not to patronize these businesses! If these over-18 women CHOOSE to work at this place, their employer follows employment regulations and treats them well, they are well remunerated and happy… I just don’t see why it matters. If one is against the ‘uniform’ they are wearing inside their place of business, one can simply CHOOSE not to patronize the business as I do.

    But if the argument is over the appropriateness of dress… check out your local shopping mall, (junior) high school, or gym. More and more often I see increasingly younger girls wearing clothing fit for Hollywood Boulevard (in other words, they look like hookers). In 1981, my elementary school (and the JHS & HS) in SoCal disallowed “Dolphin” shorts because they were too short and revealed girls’ buttocks. While the gym we belong to has rules regarding what is considered appropriate attire, they seem not to enforce them. What I find disturbing the the under-18 (and even U-14!!!! crowd) wearing booty shorts fit for a rap video with their parents looking on. My parents would have skinned me alive, and I spent most of my first 22 years in a swimsuit!

    Rather than obsessing over this, I think we should be more concerned about what behaviors and clothing CHILDREN are engaging in and wearing. How can we expect them to be adults with integrity if we have no common expectations for them to adhere to?

  9. I live in Belfair and never thought I would EVER see a “dive-threw” strip joint that ANY age could attend! Lets face it ladies (or should I say hookers) if you want to work in the type of environment well GO FOR IT however lets leave coffee out of it! Go to TOYS TOPLESS .. that is more your speed. I feel sorry for all those young girls, thinking that its “cool” to work in the nude ……all those young girls must have NO self-respect, low self-esteem ….and the list goes on! Its truly sad that in todays society people think its ok to use “sex” to sell whatever….so keeping this in mind I have a suggestion for the President of the United States….since we have such a large deficit why dont we get all the women in the proud USA to put the “pasties” on therefore we could wipe out the money problem!

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