By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

Having brought nearly a dozen new and innovative bars and businesses to Sydney's laneways and forgotten places, the City of Sydney's 'Finegrain' grants program is looking for more opportunities. 

Given the success of the initiative, which began in 2008 as the Laneways Program, the CoS is looking to provide further funding to small bars, hospitality spaces and cultural activity in 'under-used spaces' in the CBD. 

To date $275,000 has been awarded to suitable recipients, who themselves have invested over $1m into "locations that may have been deemed unviable previously". 

A spokesperson for CoS told TheShout that the program has helped create gems such as Tapa Vino, which was runner-up in the SMH Good Food "Best New Bar" award last year.  

"Bulletin Place was an underused resource; we now have Tapa Vino trading onto the laneway alongside Cabarito Espresso doing likewise, whilst people start queuing for Bulletin Place Bar after work." 

Sydney entertainment magazine Time Out described Bulletin Place as producing "some of the finest cocktails in the city".

Other successes include Shirt Bar in Sussex Lane. Proprietor Adam Hosbauer told TheShout "the Finegrain program was terrific".  

"When we opened it felt as though we had a business support network, which was really nice. I have since recommended it to other people like myself."

Similarly, the York Lane Bar came into existence two years ago backed by Finegrain, and owner Dieter Steinbusch still maintains communication with CoS regarding ongoing business issues.  

"City of Sydney Council was fantastic in its execution of the grant, and the follow-up," said Steinbusch.

"I can't speak highly enough of them in terms of interest and passion in the project – they want to see you succeed, because the projects help the city grow and become a 'world' city." 

The Finegrain program provides up to $30,000 to suitable applicants when they make a 'matching' contribution, and has also funded hospitality developments in Temperance Lane and Alberta Street, with laneway upgrades underway in Ash Street, Market Row and Angel Place. 

Click here for more information on the program

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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