A central Reading bar has kept its licence but will have to close earlier.

Yates was forced to close temporarily earlier this month after 200 New Year’s Eve revellers were involved in a mass brawl which left one man knocked unconscious.

The bar/nightclub will no longer be able to run externally-promoted events and owners Stonegate have said they will ban drill music, though this is not a condition on the licence.

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Councillor Deborah Edwards, chairman of Reading Borough Council's (RBC) Licensing Applications committee, said:  “I am really pleased to see the model you are going to use, which is going to be more acceptable to Reading’s reputation.

“That you are going to manage events yourself makes me feel a bit safer.”

The new opening hours will be:

  • 7am-0:30am, Sunday-Thursday
  • 7am-1:30am, Friday and Saturday.

This is a total reduction of 10 hours from the previous opening times, which were until:

  • 2:30am, Monday-Thursday
  • 3am, Friday-Saturday
  • 12:30am, Sunday

Stonegate lawyer Phillip Colvin said the company “fell below required standards” and has suffered  “painful economic consequences”.

Thames Valley Police officer Simon Wheeler backed the plan to make changes to licence conditions and opening times to “de-escalate” the issues.

New Year’s Eve brawl and “agitated” birthday party attendees

Yates has been closed since early January, after Stonegate voluntarily closed the venue.

Two incidents this month including fights and ‘disorder’ with hundreds of people involved prompted police to call for an urgent review of Yates in Reading.

More than 20 police were scrambled to the scene as the fight reportedly broke out at Yates New Year’s Eve party inside the venue shortly after 2am.

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Just days later another mass incident involving 150 ‘agitated’ teenagers happened outside the club in Friar Street, prompting police to raise the alarm over the club’s licence.

Teenagers between the age of 16 and 18 were there for a private birthday party at the venue, having been sold £2 wristbands, but those under 18 were not allowed to enter, which led to “pockets of disorder”.

Thames Valley Police called an urgent summary review after the second serious incident occurred on January 4.

At the January 8 meeting, the council’s licensing committee decided to suspend the licence till today’s hearing.

Drill music ban

Stonegate legal representative Mr Colvin said drill music will be banned in Yates and the music policy will be commercial pop such as Adele and Little Mix.

He said: “Some of these musical genres are very positive and some genres celebrate violence and attract a particular demographic of people.

“Drill music in particular carries a set of risk that in these premises is preferable not to be exposed to.”

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This was a backtrack from the previous meeting, where another Stonegate lawyer suggested the company wanted to ban “urban” music in the company’s venues across the UK.

RBC and TVP officers both disagreed with the idea of putting the drill ban as a condition on the licence.

Licensing officer Robert Smalley said: “That might be hard to introduce. One person’s drill music could be another person’s hardcored jungle.”

PC Wheeler added: “We are not sure it adds value as a condition on the licence. “