Friends With Benefits: Chris Finkenor
Early on in his life, Chris Finkenor decided to trade a career on Wall Street for one in the nightlife industry, and he’s thrived ever since. The Long Island, N.Y., native is currently director of guest development at Catch at Aria, an outpost of the celebrity favorite from New York and Los Angeles, and he’s ready to make your experience in Las Vegas a memorable one.
Finkenor credits Catch Hospitality Group co-founders Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum with his success. “They were the first to really give me a chance.” He began his career as floor manager at their club, SL, in New York’s Meatpacking District. Over the next seven years, his titles have included general manager of New York’s Catch Roof, Finale Nightclub, Marquee and Lavo, also serving as director of nightlife for Mark and Eugene. When he was told about the Catch expansion in Las Vegas, he jumped at the chance, moving here in August.
His job here is “creating experiences for people. I’m not just here to help them go from Catch restaurant to Catch lounge, but to create experiences for them across the MGM portfolio,” including show tickets and much more. Whether you want to be pampered or to just be left alone, Finkenor will make you feel special.
And he loves Vegas for its over-the-top quality. “Vegas is a lot. It’s like sensory overload all the time. It’s really interesting and I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it, walking out into a casino after I get off work. But I really enjoy that everyone is here to have a good time. Everyone wants to do more than they normally would, but also everyone expects the highest level of service.”
Catch has two different cocktail programs: its signature restaurant cocktails and its lounge cocktails. And for one of the most eye-catching libations on the Strip, order the Catch 22 from the lounge cocktail list. It’s a delicious blend of Absolut Elyx vodka, yuzu sake, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and house-made cordial, poured over a small scoop of house-made blue cotton candy. “It’s really something cool to see,” Finkenor says. “The cotton candy gives it that really cool appearance and that sweetening balance. It’s something that both guys and girls can enjoy.”