Yates Reading changes coming: what we know so far

Big changes could be coming to the Yates bar in Reading which would see it open longer – and it could even be totally rebranded.

Yates has been a fixture in the town centre for years, occupying the grand old post office building since the nineties.

Now, a new licence application for Yates has been submitted which would allow it to stay open longer, host live and recorded music, film viewings  and a range of other activities.

But the most curious thing about the application is that it implies that the bar could undergo a wholesale rebrand.

READ MORE: Popular Reading pub closes for £100,000 transformation

The application to Reading Borough Council refers to the bar, in 7-9 Friar Street, as “Slug & Lettuce (currently known as Yates). ”

This implies that Yates could be gone from Reading for good, in favour of a second Slug & Lettuce in the town.

Both the Yates and Slug & Lettuce are owned by the Stonegate Company, which is one of the biggest pub and bar owners in the country.

Slug & Lettuce currently occupies a unit at The Oracle Riverside.

READ MORE: Bar with axe-throwing, darts and golf will be coming to Reading

There are questions about what will happen to the Slug & Lettuce in The Oracle if the implied changes at Yates go ahead.

A spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Yates would be turned into a  Slug & Lettuce, and no planning application to change the advertising on the building has been submitted… yet.

The spokesperson said: “As part of our on-going review of our estate, we often consider alternative options for our businesses.

“There is currently no timeframe for any potential changes to Yates in Reading.”

The recent history of Yates in Reading has been troubled.

It was within a whisker of losing its licence after 200 revellers were involved in a mass brawl which left one man knocked unconscious during the 2019 to 2020 New Year’s celebrations.

READ MORE: Yates forced to close temporarily after mass brawl

Stonegate voluntarily closed the venue following the fight, and the premises licence for Yates was put under review by Reading Borough Council.

Ultimately, the council’s licensing committee chose to limit Yates’ opening hours to 7am-0.30am Sunday to Thursday, and 7am-1.30am Friday and Saturday.

Following the decision, Stonegate vowed to ban drill music which its legal representatives implied attracted “a particular demographic of people” responsible for the brawl.

The drill music genre is dominated by Black rappers, and has been criticised for its violent references and drug laden content.

Now, Stonegate has submitted a fresh application to stay open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, and conduct the following activities:

  • Sale of alcohol on and off the premises Sunday to Thursday 8am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 8am to 2am
  • Late night refreshment (hot food) indoors and outdoors, Sunday to Thursday 11pm to midnight, Friday to Saturday 11pm to 2am
  • Recorded music indoors, Sunday to Thursday 8am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 8am to 2am
  • Live music indoors, Monday to Thursday 10am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 10am to 2am, Sunday 11am to midnight
  • Dance performances indoors, Monday to Thursday 10am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 10am to 2am, Sunday 11am to midnight
  • Anything similar to live music, recorded music and dance performances indoors, Monday to Thursday 10am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 10am to 2am, Sunday 11am to midnight
  •  Films viewing indoors, Sunday to Thursday 7am to midnight, Friday to Saturday 7am to 2am

The application will be decided at a future meeting of Reading Borough Council’s licensing committee.

Stonegate also owns the Be at One, Popworld and Walkabout brands, and The Boundary pub which used to be called Pavlov’s Dog in St Mary’s Butts.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre