Mark Birnbaum had no idea when he was planning after-prom parties at The Wheatley School and managing a nightclub at Ithaca College, that it would lead him to be involved in one of the hottest nightspots in New York – Lobby.
Birnbaum is the CEO/President of Operative, Inc., a firm the consults for bars, nightclubs and real estate development. The 26-year-old Long Island native left a lucrative career on Wall Street to work his true passion, planning and promoting events.
Why did you leave your job in finance?
I was tired of it, not into it. I have always thrown parties, and always wanted to do that. When 9-11 happened, I lived right across the street, and then the economy took a nose-dive and I figured it’s better to do what makes you happy, doing what you want to do and that will make you successful and happy.
Tell me a little about Lobby?
My partner, Jeremy and I, wanted to create a club with high-end service and nice décor. In this economy, if people are going to spend a lot of money, you better give them proper service. It’s sort of like a high-end hotel bar without the rooms above it. The whole theme is a hotel lobby bar but without the restrictions like noise levels. It’s a high-energy lounge with all the amenities.
What is your typical night away from Lobby like?
I like checking out the competition, seeing what is trend setting, what everyone is eating and drinking. Staying in tune. Typical night might be going to a restaurant or an event. Going to the Soho House or whatever the next “new” thing is. I don’t drink so what entertains me is pretty girls and how things operate.
If you could create your perfect woman, what would she be like?
5’10 and 120 pounds – but a cool girl who likes to hang out. Someone who doesn’t care about the scene, doesn’t party like a maniac. She would enjoy day-to-day stuff without freaking out. A woman with perspective. 5’10 and 120 pounds doesn’t hurt, I do like very attractive women.
Do you find women suck up to you because you are involved with Lobby?
It is hard to find quality women in New York. Those sort of girls who are after you for who you are or how much money you have are very visible to me. They usually ask you, ‘what do you do for a living’ or ‘what kind of car do you drive’ – I usually tell them something like I manage a video store to see their reaction.
Who is the most famous patron of Lobby?
Well, the first sighting of Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravtiz (as a couple) was at Lobby. It was at the birthday party Sean “P-Diddy” Combs threw for Kravtiz. That was a big deal, cause it broke in the papers and tabloids right after that.
Tennis, going to the movies, and recently I have gotten into DJ’ing. In fact, I DJ on Saturday night’s in the VIP room at Lobby.
Lobby is located at
330 West 38th Street
212 465 2200