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‘Top Chef’ Alum Nina Compton Is Opening an NFT Cocktail Club in New Orleans With Fellow Chefs

ShaSha Lounge will also work with disaster-relief organizations around the city.

Nina Compton Josh Brasted/Getty Images for American Express

A number of restaurants and members clubs are experimenting with NFTs, giving exclusive access to people who have purchased the nonfungible tokens. A new concept in New Orleans is doing the same—but with a charitable twist.

Celebrated local chef Nina Compton, who helms Big Easy hotspots Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, is leading the charge at ShaSha Lounge: Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The new venue, which will comprise a cocktail club and lounge, is set to open sometime next year, according to Eater New Orleans. Purchasing a membership NFT will give you access to the spot and special events that will be held throughout the year.

“We are developing a new level of access and allure in the industry,” said Larry Miller, Compton’s business partner and husband.

ShaSha will operate in conjunction with a number of culinary heavyweights based throughout the United States. The lineup so far includes Stephanie Izard, Marc Forgione, Michelle Bernstein, Rodney Scott and Tiffani Faison. They’ll all collaborate quarterly on new drinks and host both on-site and virtual classes. Additionally, each chef will take over the club’s programming for one week every year.

ShaSha will also have a philanthropic twist, with a portion of membership and lounge sales going toward disaster-relief efforts in New Orleans. It takes after the city’s Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, which perform charitable work throughout the region. And those grew out of 19th-century “benevolent societies,” in which members paid dues that were used to help cover costs for themselves and their families.

Top Chef alum Compton told Eater that she and Miller came up with the idea for ShaSha earlier this year when trying to figure out ways to proactively and continually plan for and fund disaster-relief efforts. They’re currently working to find organizations in the area they can partner with to help in that mission.

Much of ShaSha is still in the planning stages: The location isn’t yet set, and the NFT prices and percentage of sales donated are also TBD. However, the club will include a bar, lounge and private spaces for events, tastings and classes. There’ll also be live music, and Compton will develop a menu of light bites to be served alongside the drinks.

It seems like ShaSha, then, will be an exclusive space to drink good, eat good and do good. A triple threat if we’ve ever seen one.

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