A new coffee shop is perking up the Chandler area—and it’s not entirely because of the caffeine.
Bottoms Up Espresso, on the northwest corner of Warner Road and Arizona Avenue, is serving joe as hot as the employees—who dress in lingerie and bikinis while creating playfully themed drinks.
The company first flirted with the California market in 2011, but has turned up the heat to give locals a view of something other than prime Arizona sunsets at the state’s first location in Chandler.
Manager Joni Johnson said that although Chandler may not seem like a prime spot to blend coffee and bare skin, the location is bursting at the seams with new and recurrent customers since opening in April.
“We have a lot of construction workers in the area that come in when we open at four in the morning because this is the only place open to get coffee other than gas stations. No where else in this area opens that early,” Johnson said.
“I think they just appreciate having good coffee, like a good cold brew before going out in the sun all day,” she added.
Johnson said the cafe also sees a lot of traffic as people make their way off the freeway after work.
Customers frequent the cafe on the weekends with their significant others and friends as well.
Yet, no matter what time of the day customers stop at the shop to take in the view—a smile, good conversation and a show come with every cup.
The Chandler location is the company’s only outlet with an indoor seating area where customers can play games or chat with the baristas.
“You can literally come in here and talk to us for hours, we don’t mind. We have Wi-Fi, so people come and do homework and work or business too. We just want customers to relax and enjoy themselves and their drinks, and us too if they want,” said Johnson.
But those headed through the drive-thru won’t be shorted on the views.
A mirror in the back of the kitchen lets customers see the baristas’ outfit of the day while they make drinks to drool over.
Espresso drinks like the popular Little Irish Girl with Irish cream and white chocolate and the Blonde Bombshell with toasted marshmallow, caramel and white chocolate are among the most popular on the menu.
But the joint also serves energy drinks like The Big O, with strawberry and green apple, and the Screamer, which comes with blue raspberry, green apple and watermelon and basic smoothies that are popular among customers.
For those looking for a snack, other than the girls, they can order a French toast bagel breakfast sandwich or the favored croissant breakfast sandwich.
To jumpstart the week, on Mondays the girls wear “schoolgirl” outfits, typically complete with plaid miniskirts, stockings and pigtails. Tuesdays and Saturdays are both dedicated to red and black bikinis to represent the brand’s colors.
Wednesdays lasso customers with a cowgirl theme which usually features ripped daisy duke shorts and tied plaid shirts to boot.
Thursdays, Johnson said, are one of the shop’s busiest days during the week.
A “fantasy” theme at the store means lingerie, and little of it. Johnson said some of the girls like to be the women of customers’ dreams by elevating the look with complete hair and makeup.
Though most people look forward to a slow Sunday, baristas hype up the slower pace with a sports-inspired look with tied-up jerseys.
“What’s nice about the outfit changes is that we’re the only place around here to do it. So, if you like the concept but don’t want to see a bunch of beautiful women in lingerie, you can come on Sunday and still have fun but we’ve toned it down a notch with sports-themed outfits,” said Johnson.
Though toned down, the dress code keeps even the shop’s most casual days piping hot.
Employees must have their midriff showing at all times, are strongly encouraged to wear makeup and keep their hair its natural color.
The girls are not allowed to wear thongs or boy-shorts to work as all of the outfits must include cheeky-style underwear or swimwear.
Johnson said with the girls’ natural features on display, a lot of people think the customer-base is mainly men.
“We actually get more women here than men. We do get guys but sometimes they’re afraid to look at us or they’ll be nervous, but the women come in here just taking us in and telling us straight up they think we look good,” said Johnson, adding:
“We know we have a lot on show, we know you come here to look at us and that’s okay. We put in all this effort so you will look at us.”
Though, most of their male customers have no problem drinking the women up.
One left a review that raved: “I came to get a cold brew but I wanted something slightly sweeter and they made my drink perfectly. The girls are beautiful, energetic, and have wonderful customer service. I would recommend this place to anyone who likes coffee period! Awesome place!”
Another customer, said, “Great coffee, beautiful baristas, friendly atmosphere.” He couldn’t help noting as well that one barista in particular was “absolutely delicious.”
While most that come to the store have only compliments to give, Johnson said not everyone in the community is as enthusiastic about the concept as others.
“I check our reviews on Google and stuff and there was this lady who was just not loving this concept she was like, ‘I think it’s messed up that we have two bikini shops in this area, it’s just degrading to women,’” said Johnson.
But Johnson is hardly flustered.
“If we love it, we love it. I have no problem walking around like this and I’m sure none of them do,” she said.
“None of us feel degraded at all. If they did they wouldn’t work here. We’re all comfortable in our skin and if anything its empowering. If you’ve got it, rock it. Rock what God gave you,” she added.
Johnson said before making assumptions about the concept of the store to come in and experience the environment for one’s self.
“We get people in all the time who had no idea what it was even though our logo has a girl with a bikini on it. They come in and they absolutely love it. You just never know,” she said.