After opening Sago House in the times of pandemic, owners Jay Gray, Desiree Jane Silva and George Abishek decided to introduce their own NFTs to commemorate their first years menu. What does this mean, how you can buy these NFTs and what benefits do they give? Let’s find out more as we speak to Jay Gray.
Sago House: A Bartender’s Bar
Sago House is run by Jay Gray, Desiree Jane Silva and George Abishek, a bar they created with their own hands using reused, recycled and unloved materials. Located at the top of Sago Street, the bar hosts regular events for Singapore’s hospitality workers, a bartenders bar if you will. If the idea sounds somewhat familiar to Malaysians, it is this very bar that inspired the Junglebird 2.0, the newly relocated location which was mostly built by Joshua Ivanovic, Lolita Goh and Divyesh Chauhan. Sago House has also been steadily climbing the ranks coming in at No. 49 at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, No. 31 at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022, and No. 63 at the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021.
Can you briefly tell us about Sago House?
Sago House is led by three key players: Jay Gray, Desiree Jane Silva and George Abishek, who had already been brewing Sago for close to a year when COVID hit. Taking things into their own hands – literally – and armed with mood boards, they set out to create the space using reused, recycled and unloved materials (along with a little hustle). Perched atop a Sago Street shophouse in Singapore, the fun, eclectic venue has six stalwart serves and runs a rotating weekly menu dictated by native, seasonal ingredients sourced at the local market. The bar was announced as a new entry to Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, coming in at No. 49 followed by No. 31 in 2022, and World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 at No. 63.
What is an NFT?
Sharing an excerpt from an NFT 101 put together by Dan Clarke, the developer working me (Jay Gray) on the project:
“The creation of Bitcoin introduced the concept of trustless, digital scarcity. Before it, the cost of digitally copying something was next to nothing. With the advent of blockchain technology, programmable digital scarcity has become possible – letting us map the digital world to the real world.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), often referred to as crypto collectibles, expand this idea. Unlike cryptocurrencies, where each token is equal, non-fungible tokens are unique and limited in quantity.
NFTs are a key building block in a new, blockchain-powered digital economy. Numerous projects have experimented with NFTs in a variety of use cases, including gaming, digital identity, licensing, certificates, and fine art. What’s more, NFTs even allow for fractional ownership of high-value items”.
Tell us a bit about the Sago House’s cocktails NFTs.
The NFTs are available for S$100, plus gas fees which can vary depending on transaction complexity, the price of related cryptocurrencies, and the amount of traffic on the network. Each of the NFTs represents one of the cocktails from our first year of menus – 270+ drinks served over our first year of opening (minus a few weeks when the bar was closed due to the pandemic). Given the nature of Sago House’s rotating menu, these drinks wouldn’t be available otherwise – this gives us an opportunity to bring them back to our guests again. Whoever holds the NFT will have exclusive rights to order that cocktail at the bar, forever (unless they sell the NFT), at the cost price of S$10 (probably the cheapest cocktail you will find in Singapore!). We request a minimum of 24 hours notice before the NFT holder would like to redeem their drink so we can ensure we have the necessary ingredients, and limit to 10 drinks per night which are not transferrable to anyone else in the party.
You’re trying to raise funds through selling these NFTs for your book Don’t Try – Volume 1. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The team works so hard on each drink we make – not just the recipe, but the creative names and visuals we create to share with our guests on social media. Both the NFT collection and the book are ways we’ve come up with to preserve and celebrate our cocktails throughout Sago House’s history. Raising funds for the book through our NFT sales allows us to stay true to our way of doing things – independently, rather than funded by sponsors. We want to ensure we have full control over the creative process, and funding the book ourselves allows us to do that.
When will this launch and will this be available to buyers outside Singapore?
The collection launched on the evening of 4th May, and the NFTs are available to anyone – not just in Singapore. Of course if you’re based in Singapore (or frequently visit), you will be able to enjoy more of the reward of having your cocktail at the bar – but we’re toying with ideas of ways to bring this offline part of the equation global. There might be an opportunity down the line to partner with bars in key markets in our network who can offer the cocktails on our behalf – this is a bit of blue sky thinking, but something we’re brainstorming around and thinking about for the future.
The NFTs are ERC-721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and are available on all NFT marketplaces. Each is available for S$100, plus the initial minting gas fee. For more information and to get your NFT: https://sagohousenft.com/.
| PHOTOGRAPHY: SAGO HOUSE | WEBSITE: SAGO HOUSE |