Sydney’s nightlife industries shift gear with a $33 million plan to revive the city’s status as a 24-hour destination. Following thorny years of lockout laws and pandemic lockdowns, Australia’s biggest city witnessed how the amount of in-person transactions shrunk during late night hours – but that’s all set to change now.
Authorities are keen to make Sydney’s nightlife more appealing and motivate residents to give up on their chilling-on-the-couch nights.
At the helm of its $33 million scheme is Michael Rodrigues – Australia’s first 24-hour commissioner – who wants to fund everything from art installations to live music for the sake of the city’s late-night economy.
But drink-related activities are out of the picture. Back in 2014, going out for a drink became a sensitive issue when alcohol-fueled acts of violence gave birth to a series of laws that forced pubs and bars to close by 1.30 AM.
Instead, Rodrigues will use the pot to broaden Sydney’s nightlife appeal beyond traditional drinking with arts and culture schemes.
At the beginning of the month, his team revived an abandoned Chinatown cinema for a six-week slew of parties to perk up the city’s central district. The initiative includes a mix of underground music sets, movie screenings, cabaret shows, and yum cha pop-ups (a brunch Chinese tradition).
Among the late-night mayor’s to-do list is allowing late-night trading. Sydney grocery stores are usually closed in the wee hours of the night, which further burdens the city’s economy.
Urban planner Nicole Gurran told Bloomberg that Sydney’s nightlife economy shouldn’t stop because clubbing and bars are out the window.
“You might be doing late night groceries. If you’re a night owl you might be going to the bookshop, you might be catching up with friends over dessert. You really do get a flourishing of activities for people to do after business hours if there’s a range of options.”
According to Square stats, Sydney residents lag in late-night spending compared to metropolises like London and New York. While 33% of a Londoner’s spending occurs between 7 PM and 4 AM, Sydney is less than half with 14%.