After almost two years closed to the public, London's iconic live music venue the Garage will re-open in March 2008 following a £1 million ($2 million) refurbishment, its owner MAMA Group Plc reports.

The restored venue in the Highbury and Islington district will have a new building capacity of 620 in the main room, and a further 150 in the "Upstairs at the Garage" room, according to MAMA. The "mini bar" will accommodate an additional 50 visitors.

Another new feature will be an internal circulation staircase, which will link all three rooms.

"In re-opening the Garage, MAMA is addressing a gap in the current London live market," comments Steve Forster, managing director of Venue and Live Music Solutions, MAMA's live operations business.

Forster says the refitted venue will be better equipped "in every respect than its predecessor," including improved sound systems and sightlines.

"The venue will also become fully digitally equipped," he adds, "so that bands can produce top quality live recordings for on the spot release should they wish to do so."

MAMA took ownership of the Garage and a string of other London venues as a result of a deal it struck last August to acquire Mean Fiddler Holdings Ltd.

The venue, opened by Mean Fiddler in 1993, is established on the live circuit as one off London's intrinsic small indie and rock sites, hosting gigs from the likes of Radiohead, Supergrass, Placebo, and Dinosaur Jr over the years. The venue closed for refurbishment on July 24, 2006.