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The liquor licenses of three popular local restaurants expired last night, making it illegal for the establishments to serve alcoholic beverages. Pinkham said the bar owners have already appealed the LCB's decision, but that none of the appeal dates have been set. High Rise and Kelly and Cohen will remain open, but Backstreet owner Mark Wright said last night that he is not sure if his restaurant will reopen today. Wright said he plans to consult his attorney before deciding if it will be worth it for him to remain open without a liquor license. "[My business] is about 50/50 food and alcohol," he said. "Right now it is up in the air." Until the LCB hears the appeals, the three restaurants can apply to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for a stay, which would allow them to serve alcoholic beverages until their re-hearing. But according to LCB records, none of the owners have applied for stays. If the restaurants serve alcohol without licenses, they receive a citation and risk what Pinkham called "serious" fines. High Rise and Kelly and Cohen owners were not available for comment last night. Pinkham said that the restaurant owners showed a "blatant disregard" for the law by continuing to serve minors even after being fined several times in the past by the LCB. Backstreet was cited four times in the past two years for serving minors and received a seven-day suspension last year, Pinkham said. High Rise was cited four times this year alone for serving minors, she said. For the first offense the restaurant received a $1750 fine, for the second a $1000 fine, and for the third a $1200 fine and three-day suspension of the liquor license. The fourth citation has not been adjudicated. Kelly and Cohen was fined $1200 in 1989 for serving 16 minors and received a two-day suspension earlier this year for serving five minors, Pinkham said. Although the bars have filed for appeals, Pinkham said that in the past, only a few appeals have been successful. The bars must first appeal to the LCB, asking the board to reconsider its original deicision. Pinkham said the restaurant owners must show reasons "why they should be open." The LCB can either uphold or reverse its previous decision to not renew the licenses. If the LCB rejects the appeal, the next appeal is made to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. From there an appeal goes through the Pennsylvania courts, if the higher courts are willing to hear the cases.

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