A nightclub in Reading will close its doors for good after becoming a hotspot for assaults, arrests and road closures in the last few years.

But the council agreed today the owners can keep the licence and re-open the venue as a ‘craft bar’ instead.

Matchbox has been closed since December 8, after a fight broke out the day before inside the venue and spilled out onto the street.

The venue’s licence holder Greene King faced Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) licensing committee this morning, with the possibility it could lose its licence.

But the committee agreed to allow the licence to remain in force.

Licensing chairman Deborah Edwards said: “The sub-committee has concluded that it was appropriate and proportionate for the premises licence to remain in place. New conditions will replace old ones.”

She added: “Behave.”

A plan was agreed between Greene King and the police prior to the meeting which will see the nightclub transformed into a “high-end” craft beer and gin bar with an open kitchen and games room.

The new venue, which could open as soon as the end of May, will open at 8am and close at 12am (Sunday-Wednesday) and 12.30am (Thursday-Saturday), with drinking stopping half an hour before.

Big Smoke Brew Co – who run a brewery, gin distillery and seven other similar craft bars in the country – will run the bar.

The company had already planned to transform Matchbox into a craft bar prior to the fight on December 7.

Refurbishment works are set to begin in April or May, with £500,000 being invested by Greene King and Big Smoke Brew in the rebrand.

The venue will have a games room on the first floor, with “cutting edge” electronic darts similar to ‘Flight Club’ in London and shuffle board.

The hearing was called in by the police due to the severity of the issues” at the venue over the last two years and the failure to address this.

This included a man died outside the club in April after being punched and hitting his head on the floor.

Thames Valley Police agreed a series of new conditions to replace the current ones prior to the meeting – including no events run by external promoters. This led to RBC’s senior licensing officer withdrawing his concerns.