Stumbling onto this article might have invoked some sort of déjà vu, right?  Remember our recent headline about Vietnamese coffee shops in Southern California being shut down for having provocative and scantily clad women as employees?  Well, similar situation in this article.

Just 370 miles north from Garden Grove, policemen recently found three female baristas in their mid-twenties working topless in a Vietnamese coffee joint in San Jose, California on September 7.

Cafe Quyên has been serving sweet, aromatic, brewed drinks for the past two decades; however, ever since the economy took a major hit, business has slowed down.  As a result, Cafe Quyên (along with Vietnamese coffee shops in Southern California) decided to take on a different route to spark business and attracting more customers.  Instead of selling tradition $4 cà phê sua dá (iced coffee) to their fellow customers, Cafe Quyên decided to sell $4 cà phê sua dá with a slightly different flavor: eye-candy baristas dressed in low cut tops, lacey lingerie, and bare-bottom bikinis with nothing but pasties covering their breasts.

As business comes back, customers are not coming to Cafe Quyên solely for coffee.  Instead, customers (predominatly male clientele) come to Cafe Quyên for their half naked waitresses strolling through the cafe in their 5” heels.  Many customers call Cafe Quyên  the “Asian-Hooters,” providing food service and entertainment through attractive waitresses in revealing outfits.  However, if one were to ever walk through the tinted doors of Cafe Quyên, it’s hard not to mistake Cafe Quyên as something a bit more scandalous.


With Cafe Quyen’s wide-mix reviews on Yelp, it’s difficult to determine what to expect. The reviews display a wide range of response, both positive and negative.

During night hours, Cafe Quyên transforms into a glowing Red Light District-esque environment, showcasing more revealing waitresses in thongs and g-strings.  Customers occasionally witness waitresses dancing on coffee tables, as dollar bills begins to pile rapidly on the table.

Now, I for one have nothing against small businesses looking for innovate methods of attracting customers and therefore have nothing against these growing popular Cafe “Tê Mê” (bikini coffee shops).  But when waitresses are topless in places like Cafe Quyên, then that’s when the problems begin.  I understand that there are no laws against strip joints selling coffee, but there are zoning laws against coffee shops operating as strip joints.  Cafe Quyên is not a strip joint.  I feel that store managers should be vigilant about their baristas being topless in order to prevent any more legal harm inflicting on their business and most importantly, the dignity of these women.  It’s quite unfair for these waitresses to have to go the extra yard to please many of the male customers, just to earn an extra dollar.

As for the topless baristas in Cafe Quyên, the three were sent to court and all received a citation.  The owner on the other hand, walked away with no penalties.  A double standard nonetheless.

What’s your opinion on these coffee shops? Should the county take legal action and ban these coffee shops? Or should these coffee shops continue to operate as they do? Share your thoughts.

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  1. topless im hoping that theyre id-ing people if not then this should be shut down. If so, this place is equivalent to a strip joint, no?

  2. Absolutely, the fault here lies with the store owner and manager(s). Girls don’t just decide to come to work scantily clad when it’s not included in their job description. If it’s a strip club that also provides a cafe experience, then by all means this place should follow all the regulations such clubs and lounges are tied to by law, and the upper echelons should be held accountable for their business practices.

  3. Vincent, it’s noble of you to take a moral stand about the “dignity of these women” and about it being “unfair” to them… but really.. it’s apparently a choice they have made to earn probably more than just an extra dollar. As for the owner getting away with it … why was it so? It would be interesting to know the background and dynamics at work in this scenario rather than just another morality tirade.

  4. I respected the girls and all. It’s all about make a living here. Think about this, we all have choices right? you have the choice not to drink or buy coffee there, just visit starbucks for all i care. At least those girls are not robbing people for money. They’re using their own body to make money…as the same for you, you probably make money by writing, i don’t think anyone have problems with that. 

    For what i know, the waitresses have the choice to go “topless” or not, but the owners of many coffee shop usually offer to pay more to those willing to go “topless”.So do you really want the county to ban these coffee shop and our people going jobless? are you going to help them pay all the bills and stuff? or are you going to help them find a new job? what can you do to help if you think this is wrong?Until any of us have better solution to help our people make money, a better living, i suggest that we shouldn’t let our people down but to support them; Offer them a new job, offer them a new way of promoting their shop, let’s offer them a better solution to support our community and most of all, respect people choices


  5. This is America guys, those girls do not have to do the thing that they do not have to do. There is law about sexual coercion at work. They’re also protected by employment law. By the way, as a point of interest, those girls make more a day then any stripper in a strip joint without slapping their titties on the customer’s face like their counterpart strippers do. They earned aorund 500 USD per day on tip alone ( no tax, of course ) and drive Mercedes to go to work. They have their choices and they made it. This is not Vietnam or Thailand where coercion exists. You got to reveal the truth not just the impression. 

    1. strippers make less than that? Surprising to me.  I know bartenders can make $400 a night on tips alone, but I think some of it is taxed.  Hard to believe that strippers make less than that.

    2. Let’s say that these girls had complete control over their decision to go topless (which is never the case.  If you go deep enough, no one ever has complete control over something if circumstances beyond their control have narrowed down their alternatives.  Yes, they have a choice, but it was not a true choice if, due to the environment they were born into, they lack the decision making skill or capability to make a good choice. Look up the philosophical debate over Amish girls being taken out of school at the age of 14 to learn homemaking.).

      This still doesn’t explain why the business owners got off scotch free while the girls had to pay a fine.

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