Aqua giving up its liquor license

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Aqua at 705 Chestnut St.

Many restaurateurs wrestle with the dilemma of "be a BYOB or have a liquor license."

They may choose the BYOB route to save money - the license, inventory, additional insurance, staffing, training and legal costs are not cheap. But serving alcohol can be far more profitable than simply selling food.

Jimmy Tran opened Aqua, his Malaysian/Thai spot at 705 Chestnut St., as a BYOB. He then went through the licensing process and set up a bar.

But after a couple of years, he is not convinced it's worth it.

So Tran is selling his license ($85,000 to $90,000 is the going rate these days for a "clean" Philly license on the open market) and plans to stop serving alcohol this weekend.

Aqua isn't the only licensee that opted to go the BYOB route. In its fading days on Third Street in Queen Village, Gayle went BYOB.

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