The first round of City of Sydney’s new business support grants program will give 18 local businesses (including Oxford Art Factory, Freda’s and Ariel bookshop) funds this April to help bolster businesses, upgrade acoustics, and help restore the city’s night-time energy.

Each business must raise a certain amount of money towards a desired aim (a refurbishment, a specific night-time activity it’d like to run), and City of Sydney will match it up to $30,000. The money will help venues to introduce live-music at night, regular talks and film screenings, and to fund infrastructure upgrades.

“No one wants a city that’s unsafe, and we don’t want one that shuts after dark either,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in an official statement. “We want to do everything we can to encourage businesses to provide more diverse night-time activities.”

Thanks to the funding, the hum of live jazz will once again return to the Roosevelt in Potts Point, while The Imperial Hotel in Erskineville will bring back live music, too.

“Live music and performance has been an important part of The Roosevelt’s story since it first opened in 1947,” said co-owner Naomi Palmer. “The venue attracted incredible acts like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr. We want to bring back some of the glamour and identity of the original venue.”

The live-music venue Oxford Art Factory in Darlinghurst, and the bar/restaurant Freda’s in Chippendale, plan to install new speakers, PA systems and mixing equipment. And Ariel bookshop on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst will host fortnightly in-conversation evenings spotlighting local authors.

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“We know the NSW Government’s lockout laws have had a significant impact on Sydney’s night-time economy, so we are finding practical ways of helping local businesses and live-music venues get back on their feet.”

Applications for these grants opened in September last year and were finalised in November. The next round of the program is open until March 12. More information here.