"A global experiential hospitality platform"

San Francisco is getting its first NFT-based restaurant and private club. And it's being built right in the middle of a public park.

The wording around the club's recent media blitz reads like a parody of Silicon Valley's repellent buzzwordery. "SHO Club is a member's only NFT-based hospitality club providing exclusive access to immersive experiences and services around its flagship restaurant, SHO," reads the blurb.

What's more galling than the repeated use of the terms "immersive" and "experiential" to describe an actual restaurant is the fact that, as the group's website proudly proclaims, the astronomically expensive and exclusive eatery "is the only rooftop restaurant located on the Salesforce Transit Center's roof." [...]

In a terrifying J.G. Ballard-like dystopian metaphor come to life, the private lounge, which will charge a top-tier membership fee of $300,000 a pop (yes, really, more on that later), will be situated 70 feet above surrounding homeless encampments. [...]

Membership, which begins pre-sale in the next few weeks, is split into three tiers: Earth, Water and Fire. That lowest rung, the Earth tier, will be limited to an oddly specific 2,878 members, and cost a one-time fee of $7,500. For that, alongside their nonfungible token, members get access to the "private members entrance" and "front of the line access." It's a little baffling to know why one would need both. [...]

If the intention of the top Fire tier level was to invoke Fyre Festival vibes, then Sho has succeeded.

For a mere $300,000 (plus a small $9,000 "transaction fee"), Fire tier members, of which there can only be 10, can enjoy "ownership-like benefits." Why anyone would pay that much money to experience the stress of owning a restaurant in San Francisco, a notoriously painful and short-lived endeavor, is unclear.

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6 Responses:

  1. Krisjohn says:

    *sound of vomit trying to escape. repeatedly*

  2. McDanno says:

    I mean, this just a straight-up scam, right? Nothing will ever be built. We'll get another year of headlines about failure to start construction, then the dude behind this will quietly disappear into the fog and the $30 million will never be seen again.

    The tell is in the line "will open next year" when they haven't even started. Since when has permitting for something like this ever happened in a year in San Francisco?

    • McDanno says:

      Though, I suppose you could also just say it includes the three magic garbage letters as an ironclad indication of scamminess.

    • Eric says:

      Scam restaurants open all the time in San Francisco. Remember Farina Pizza and how the owners mysteriously didn't exist when it came time to pay the bills? Or those con artists who tried to reboot the Church St. location of Chow? This is pretty similar in scope, they're renting out an existing space that's already prepared for a restaurant.

      If anything this is even easier because they merely have to fool a self-selecting group of investors who don't understand the difference between real money and magical internet points.

    • thielges says:

      The total proceeds for Earth, Water, and Fyre dues come within 1% of en even $30M as you have computed.  I can imagine the founders of this operation starting out with a $30M number they want to collect and working backwards from that, leaving ~1% for banking, accounting, marketing, and legal fees.

      As to the latter the Fire tier gets “ownership-like benefits.”   It would be ironic if the Fire cohort were then left holding the bag to make Earth and Water whole in the event of bankruptcy.  Better understand that contract really well before signing.

  3. MattyJ says:

    My favorite part is where the mid-tier membership includes a special member's dinner, where "food & beverage [is] not included." That's rich.

    I'm praying for a lottery win so I can buy a membership, hope that it gets built, and take a dump on the rug.

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