Garden Grove Ends Nude Vietnamese Coffee Houses

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 This week, Garden Grove City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking, arcade games, and nudity in coffeehouses. In a city of 166,332, of which 40-45% are Vietnamese, the ordinance is aimed primarily at Vietnamese coffeehouses.

For those not familiar with Vietnamese coffeehouses, or “cafe om,” they are as close as they come to strip clubs in the conservative Vietnamese culture. The venues are usually dark and seedy. Waitresses deliver coffee to primarily male clienteles in skimpy outfits or lingerie. As these coffeehouses push to compete, the waitresses’ outfits have gotten smaller and racier, close to full nudity in some instances.

Vietnamese coffeehouses have also become a hotbed for gang activity and gambling. Arcade machines are rigged to be gambling machines and the coffeehouses have become meeting spots for loan sharks and gangsters. According to the OC Register, “2010 alone there were three robberies, four incidents of assault with a deadly weapon, seven drug-related incidents, 28 gambling arrests and 39 citations for smoking violations in these coffeehouses.” Many are ran and funded by gang members or their affiliates.

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