Cel Mates: Behind the Bars of Web3's Coolest Dive Bar

  • Cel Mates has a unique blend of counter-cultural art, music and rocker aesthetics

  • Creator, McBess, is a known artist with a track record of brand building

  • It's only two months post-mint; IF the Road Map is followed, this project could be special.

Are you the type of Anon that likes dark dive bars, bourbon on the rocks, tattooed tempters and vibey indie rock? If so, Cel Mates might be the pfp for you. Created by the artist & animator McBess, this collection of 4207 convicts is a beautifully textured, and humorously rendered prison population that involuntarily resides in Steel Hose Penitentiary. This “token gated members-only digital prison” is a “space for counter-culture syndicates of creatives to hang out, learn, share and collaborate with like-minded creators.” In other words, Cel Mates is for chic yet unpretentious web3 rockers… at least that’s what they are trying to create. Judging from the art and music, they are achieving it.

Visiting the site, I mean, penitentiary, one sees the vintage "Steamboat Willie" art style of McBess. The grainy black and white setting is matched by a top-tier Mac Demarco-esque tune, “She’s a Big Boy” by Mcbaise–McBess’s own musical project! Visit the site for yourself and you will agree, the vibe is impeccable. 

Cel Mates Crime Report NFT

No amount of culture can sustain a project on its own; thankfully, Cel Mates has an ambitious Road Map. It all started with a mint two months ago. Community members were given clues to sort and puzzles to solve. Those that figured their way through the hunt were booked with a “Crime Report.” These are the project’s pre-reveal NFTs. Burning the report reveals your Cel Mate pfp. Community members–aka inmates at Steel Hose–can use their NFT to redeem an "unwelcome pack" of prison swag. The pack includes incarceration essentials like branded soap on a rope (lol), a comb, a toothbrush, toilet paper and a flask–prob for Toilet Wine

Future stops along the Cel Mates road map include a token-gated CelCTV entertainment channel that is launching this quarter. There’s also promised expansions to the penitentiary website. Steel Hose will become “a central hub for activities, fun, and engagement.” There’s a promised “NFT Flash Tattoo drop” which will be a guaranteed mint for eligible Cel Mates. The NFT unlocks further “IRL and digital interactions.” Rounding out the long list are a musical album drop, events, community meet ups, physical toys, collabs with other projects and even charity/social engagement events. 

If you’re in web3 for the arts and culture–and that’s what Redlion is all about–then Cel Mates is 100% worth the research. The team, led by McBess, has a track record of community-based projects with great style, fun and epic in-person events (see The Dudes for a previous web2 success). Currently, the Road Map promises a lot… and it can be dubious trusting the words of inmates! Another potential warning sign is that the Cel Mates floor is .2 Eth which is under the .33 mint price. 

Cel Mates PFP NFT

While there are no guarantees in web3, and this project is in its early stages, Cel Mates offers a unique blend of style, comedy, and retro-rocker feel. It appeals to a certain segment of hip web3 ne’er-do-wells. Sure, many projects claim to be an elite token-gated clubhouse, but Cel Mates is a bit different. It’s a sleek, understated response to the nouveau riche “broey” vibes of BAYC (and other clout-chasing collections). Thus, if the wardens of Steel Hose Prison deliver on their promises, life behind bars will be preferable to living on “the outside.”

Writer and Redlion's editor-in-chief. Musician, 🥁 streamed over 100,000,000 times playing for Caught A Ghost, Magic Bronson and more. 2017 Experian hack victim... made the benefits of web3 easy to understand. Listening is his superpower.

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