It’s no secret that New York City’s club scene is getting more and more expensive. With inflation and rents rising, it’s getting harder and harder for clubs to stay open and tickets to stay affordable. But people still crave a good old-fashioned night out at a nightclub in New York.
Two new NYC clubs are using NFT ownership as precursors for entry.
NYC Nightclubs are Using NFTs to Represent Exclusive Access
Research shows that the owners and prospective buyers of NFTs want more exclusive real-world experiences. Tokenizing such“utility” (or “multi-use” NFTs that have benefits outside of the metaverse) gets people excited. The feeling of belonging, especially to a place like an exclusive club, brings NFTs out of the Web3 world they live in and into the real world.
The appeal is obvious. Who wouldn’t enjoy the feeling of exclusivity? Belonging to a private, members-only club where all of the members have the same interests sounds like a perfect getaway.
Though the crypto and NFT boom is relatively new, the idea for a digital club isn’t entirely novel. The New York Times published an article in March about a group called “Friends with Benefits,” described as “a web 3 group of focused thinkers, Builders, creators, and Friends.”
The group has more than 3,000 members and is located primarily out of the social platform, Discord. Discord is popular among NFT holders and gamers alike for its streaming capabilities, customizable chat functions, and speed. Though the members of Friends with Benefits communicate through Discord, the group works as a decentralized autonomous organization (which is a fancy way of saying they vote on everything) that also organizes real-world events.
An upcoming NFT Social Club is Maxwell Tribeca. If you own some cryptocurrency, it acts as a badge of entry to access this social club. Maxwell Tribeca’s 8000-square foot space at 135 Watt Street is designed after a type of Spanish eating club called “txokos”, according to an article by Bloomberg. On their website, they say they are “A 2nd Home Not A 3rd space”, and are set to open their doors in July of 2022. If it sounds exclusive, it is.
“We’re trying to create thousands of second homes, not third spaces, where people belong, and NFTs are a means to an end,” says David Litwak, founder and former CEO of tech travel platform Mozio. “Web3 often treats them like an end unto themselves,” he adds.
Maxwell Tribeca’s goal is to try and foster a place where NFT owners and crypto enthusiasts can have a sense of belonging. Members can purchase a membership liquor locker that ranges from $1,000-$5,000. The monthly membership fee is $250.
A large part of NFT culture is the social status that it confers upon those in the circle. The culture is something many are not privy to, and Maxwell’s goal is to provide a social club for those inside the crypto world. Maxwell Tribeca will operate out of an entirely separate marketplace called Maxwell’s Social, which will bypass transaction fees that interfere with NFT sales.
Maxwell’s Tribeca isn’t the only Social Club to be ruled by NFT ownership. An upcoming restaurant called FlyfishClub is co-founded by NFT big man Gary Vaynerchuk. The hospitality group-owned venue is a high-end seafood experience. Members will be able to book a seat through the online reservation system known as Resy. They plan to open in 2023 and have already generated $14 million through its original NFT launch and an additional $2 million in royalties.
According to VCR Group’s (Flyfish’s parent corporation) David Rodolitz, “every single thing about what we are doing is the exact opposite of a typical membership. At Flyfish Club, anyone who can afford it can buy in and then pretend it’s a community.” Rodolitz is the founder and CEO of VCR Group.
Many NFT owners enjoy membership perks by owning different types of NFTs, but bringing them into the real world like this seems to blend the line between the metaverse and real life. This is sure to inspire more venues like Maxwell and Flyfish Club. But, the NFT age-old question remains: is it just a passing fad? Will members want to spend their crypto on caviar and $5,000 bring-your-own-drinks liquor lockers? Certainly, the technological aspects of these social clubs have the potential to make purchases much safer and more secure than cold hard cash or credit cards.
But New Yorkers, especially the home-grown kind, have a tendency to resist movements like these. It remains to be seen if clubs like these are doomed to rise and fall like a passing trend. It will be exciting to watch and see if they have the kind of staying power beyond just hype and excitement–though, the numbers don’t lie. Millions of dollars in investment capital remain hopeful for a crypto-driven future.