back to article Suit blows £105k in London bar

An unnamed businessman and around 18 friends last Saturday set an "all-time record" in alcoholic extravagance by working their way through £105,805 worth of booze in London's Crystal nightclub, the Telegraph reports. During the marathon spendfest, which kicked off with a bottle of Pinot Grigio (£25), they quaffed £80,000 worth …

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  1. Jim Cosser

    Figures?

    Seriously 15 people had 59 Bottles not inc the two 3 litre bottles and the vodka?!

    Thats 4 bottles each + the vodka and 2 X 3 Litre bottles

    Nevermind the cost to their wallet think of their livers! Luckily they will probably not burden the NHS go Bupa (or whatever they are now called)

  2. Les Matthew

    18 people and that ammount of booze

    makes me wonder how much Bolivian marching powder was also involved? ;)

  3. Jim Cosser

    Figures?

    Oh bugger it ignore my comments! lol

  4. Greg

    Hold up a sec...

    I know that these are rip-off prices as prices go, but run this one by me again...

    "including a six-litre methuselah of Cristal (£30,000), two three-litre jeroboams of the same (£9,600)"

    So 6 litres of Cristal is £30 000, but two 3-litre jugs (ie, 6 litres) comes to £9600?

    There's an idiot who can't count, and a bar staff who enjoy ripping people off. But then again, who in the monkey-loving feck would pay more than £50 for a bottle of ANYTHING? I might stretch to £100-£200 for a really good whisky, but we are talking amber nectar here. People with that much more money than sense deserve a good rip-off here and there.

  5. Ian Ferguson

    Champagne Spraying

    That amount of champagne couldn't possibly have been drunk by 18 people so I suspect a lot of it was sprayed... that painfully wallet-hurting extravagant sport usually reserved for Formula 1 drivers and very happy successful people with more money than sense.

  6. Narcolepsy

    Something doesn't add up...

    "36 bottles of Cristal (£12,960)" weighs in at a not insubstantial £466,560 - only four times as much as he actually spent. I want his discount card.

  7. tom

    well he could've saved a few quid...

    six-litre methuselah of Cristal (£30,000),

    two three-litre jeroboams of the same (£9,600)

    Even assuming that's £9,600 per bottle that's a hell of a premium! Then again what's the od £10-20k here or there?

  8. Pete James

    Proof please

    Of course the club in question can prove that it was expensive champagne served to the customer and not some Asti Spewmanteeeeee rubbish costing them a fiver a crate.

  9. Glynn Williams

    @Narcolepsy

    That was the total price:

    36 bottles @ £360 each = £12,960

  10. Anarchy

    wot a bunch of

    tw@ts

  11. ssu

    Different Vintage?

    By Greg - So 6 litres of Cristal is £30 000, but two 3-litre jugs (ie, 6 litres) comes to £9600?

    Maybe the methuselah was a better vintage?

  12. A J Stiles

    Obviously in London

    This could only ever have happened in London. In the Real World outside the M25, you can buy your own pub for less than that!

  13. julian

    The relevance to Tech

    Fun piece - if it's true!

    But what relevance does it have with Technology (apart from the fact PC users can't do maths without PCs - I include myself in that).

  14. Rob

    Cleanup on aisle 3...

    A lot of these clubs often charge a larger sum of money due to the champagne spraying. These people with more money than sense like a good time, so there is also a hefty cleanup bill at the end of the evening too. Some clubs include the fee in the bottle price, some charge a specific figure before you start and others bill you seperately after the event depending on how much needs cleaning up.

    Remember:- these clubs very often have to be ready for another rich mug to come strolling through the door the very next day, so cleanup has to be high quality, quick and most likely an overnight job, so it's damn expensive.

  15. Nano nano

    Back to earth

    I think you'll find Tesco does a half-decent champagne ...

  16. Russell

    I can't wait...

    ... until he files his expenses claim for that one.

    Incidentally, Nano nano is correct - Tesco's own brand vintage champers (2000 was the one I tried) is incredible value and came second in some taste test or something.

  17. Ben Smith

    re: Cleaning

    Rob, any "hefty cleaning bill" is likely to contain as much of a mark-up as was on the drinks. The club in question is hardly likely to open at 8am the next morning, so I don't see that as a problem - and the cleaners, sadly, are almost certainly minimum-wage immigrants (sadly: that they are minimum wage. Not that they are immigrants).

    Certainly, if I'd have spent that amount of money on the drinks, I would dispute any need to have a £10K service charge. But there again, had I have spent that amount of money on booze full stop, I would feel obliged to kill myself for being a completely and utterly selfish, ignorant human being.

    Funny that the person in question comes from Dubai - makes me think of the great quote from "Syriana":

    "Twenty years ago you had the highest Gross National Product in the world, now you're tied with Albania. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, closely followed by dates which you're losing five cents a pound on... You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The IT angle?

    Well, El Reg's hacks must have been there, sounds like their kind of thing (maybe a bit on the cheep side, but got to slum it sometimes), so there's the IT covered.

    Only one question, where was my invite?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind the booze

    £4.50 for a can of Red Bull?

    Shocking...

  20. Dale

    Girls, don't forget the girls

    Maybe there were 18 friends there but I'm sure they had 3, 4, 5, 6 girls around each of them trying to get a peice of the pie!

  21. Robbin Nichol

    What a

    bunch of profligate bastards, that night out would have bought most of my possessions at full market value. Even if I could spend that amount of dosh on booze I would like to think I wouldn't. One word Gits!!!

  22. Frank Bough

    World's Priciest Bar?

    Hang on a minute, a bottle of Cristal costs about £175 (and it's REALLY not worth that much) so the 6 litre bottle should have cost something in the region of £1400 (OK, £3k with a reasonable mark-up) rather than the absurd £30K+tax quoted. Is the story here really that the Crystal Club is the world's worst-value drinking venu?

    People really should be aware that you can get a CASE of Cristal (should you want to try and impress someone in a suit or a former Big Brother housemate) for £2100 - 50% more actual booze than these idiots' Methuselah contained for only 7% the cost.

  23. Simon Painter

    How truely terrible?

    How much of a tosser must this guy be that he has to spend that sort of cash just to encourage people to have a drink with him. While I think the "buy it from tesco for a fraction of the price" comments are a little whiney and clearly posted by people who do not understand that a drink in a bar has a whole lot of other costs associated with it other than the cost of the liquid, I can't help wondering how terrible a person has to be that they feel that £100k is best used flashing shite booze around the place rather than enjoying a less tacky night out and donating the surplus to a good cause.

  24. Angus Cooke

    But honestly...

    ... is he really happy... I can feel his pain ;-)

  25. Dennis Price Silver badge

    Sigh...

    "Them that has, gits"

    Just about covers it - now you Brits can have an americanism to puzzle over rather than the other way around.

  26. James Haigh

    Why does it need an IT angle?

    As has been said many times before - if you wanna read IT news, you don't wanna be looking at stuff in Odds and Sods, and less so in Bootnotes.

  27. Peter Kay

    What the heck was in the Pinot Grigio?

    If you had the money, I could understand buying an uber expensive bottle at the start of the evening when your palate can properly appreciate it, then something cheaper as you become less discriminating.

    Starting with the 25 pound bottle though? Was that before the wanker 'friends'/hangers on/prostitutes/rent boys turned up?

  28. Andy Tunnah

    about the prices..

    if you think about it, if you're gonna spend a hundred grand on booze

    a) service charge isn't gonna bother you

    b) you clearly have over £50, prolly £100 million in CASH to play around with

    c) they did it purely because they could and wouldn't have needed to do it to have people around them because this type of person doesn't travel alone ha

    hedonismbot would be proud

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Businessman

    Was he unnamed... or simply unable to remember his name after that lot?

  30. Thomas Swann

    Title

    Has no one told them that they could have had just as good a time on a quality bottle of Buckfast?

    /goes to re-read 'Money' by Martin Amis.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Typo in article title

    Easy mistake to make - U and H are quite close to each other on a qwerty keyboard.

  32. Steven

    What else?

    Was he spalshing the cash on? I mean if he's prepared to spend 100k on booze how much is he spending on 'nose candy'?

    I'm sure the proprietor didn't bother mentioning how much 'gear' gets hoovered up as well as the drink in his club!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what?

    I really don't get these articles.

    These are rich city people. They have a lot of money. They spent a load of it.

    Why is it that when celebrities waste all their money they don't get the same treatment in the press. They're all wankers with money who want to spend it (and make the rest of us jealous). Why is it that the ones who work far harder for their money get reported on with shock?

  34. John Stag

    They probably had help...

    Re: four bottles each...

    Four bottles could easily be done but I imagine they had a few females help them with the onerous task.

  35. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Re: Hold up a sec... (et al)

    Regarding the price differental between fifths/magnumsJeroboams/Methuselahs (not to mention Rehoboams, Salmanazars, Balthazars, and Nebuchadnezzars) of cahmpagne:

    having worked in the liquor biz (retail) I think that I can answer this. In general the latger sizes of champagnes cost significantly more than a simple multiple of the 750 ml size due to several factors, most of them having to do with the fact that they are sparkling wines.

    Note, for starters that the bottles must be significantly trhicker than the standard, since the wine is under pressure. Simply making the bottle larger while keeping the walls the same trhickness would, essentially, produce a wine-grenade with glass shrapnel. Not a good thing.

    Now, increasing the size of the bottle linearly squares the surface area and cubes the volume of glass used. But because of the additional pressure the bottle-makers use significantly more material per bottle than the simple mulriple/square/cube law would imply,

    Secondly, having already used x times as much champagne (a commodity of limited production) and increased the price that way, then adding in the increased price for the materials in the larger bottle, you have a niche product designed mainly for displays of wretched excess. This limits the number sold and, hence, the number of bottles that the champagne-bottllers purchase from the bottle-producers, again raising the price of each bottle (smaller production run + more material used = greater per-unit price).

    (This, by the way, is probably why the party in question was forced to limit themselves to the relatively mundane Jeroboams and Methuselahs. The larger Salmanazars, Balthazars, and Nebuchadnezzars - 9, 12, and 15 L, respectively - are, IIRC pretty much special orders, produced on demand and not normally kept in stock in even the most upscale of wine-bars.)

    Thirdly, because the larger sizes are generally sold BECAUSE they are intended as brilliantly impressive displays of excess and BECAUSE they are scarce commodities, the wine producer is safe in charging a premium on TOP of the added production costs, which (in the states, at least) is then COMPOUNDED as the importer, wholesaler, and retailer all add in their markups.

    Lastly, as a general rule (again, here in the states - or at least in the ones where I've worked in the biz) bars/restaurants are required to price ALL alcoholic beverages on a PER DRINK basis. Thus any FULL BOTTLE sold must be calculated as "$Bottle == price per standard portion x number of portions/bottle". Now this is the only part of the whole price calculation which is a straight multiple but, again, you're making this calculation AFTER all of the markups have been compounded...

    And there you have it: more than you probably ever wanted to know about champagne pricing.

    (Does using "$Bottle" in the calculation give enough of a programming flavor to get past the "Where's the IT angle" whiners?)

  36. Brian Milner

    Re: What the heck was in the Pinot Grigio?

    Peter Kay said:

    "expensive bottle at the start of the evening when your palate can properly appreciate it, then something cheaper as you become less discriminating."

    Peter reminds me of the miracle at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.

    "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." (John 2:10)

    Unfortunately some folk evidently view lavish spending like this as impressive, rather than laughable.

  37. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Down the drain

    Doesn't matter what booze you drink, be it White Lightning or a vintage Champagne, it still ends up down the drain.

    Just shows that executives get paid too much while the workers struggle to buy a house.

  38. Dillon Pyron

    1980 Mouton-Rothschild

    I've got a case of 1980 Mouton-Rothschild. Anybody want to come by and help me knock it off? We can try and make the Reg.

    Dubai? Could be somebody from Halliburton.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price still doesn't add up

    @Mike Moyle: Although you are no doubt correct in your calculations, and I do not dispute them. The fact remains that the most expensive bottle of champagne ever sold was...

    * Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut 1990, Millenium 2000, Methuselah (6L) $17,625

    Cristal has become the premium quaff of choice for the hip-hop crowd in the last couple of years, so it should come as no surprise that something as totally bling as a Methuselah–that’s six liters in one enormous, gold-labeled bottle–should sell for an equally enormous price at Sotheby’s auction in New York in early December. The identity of the seller remains undisclosed, but we want to party at his house.

    From: http://most-expensive.net/champagne-in-world

    That's a far cry from 30k pounds

    --Pete

  40. Jim Hunter

    Hmmmmm....

    Just read through the article and the comments. (Interesting bit from Mike Moyles) and then thought:

    "I'm half way through my 14 day shift on a steel island 15 miles south of the Dogger Bank; 75 miles from the nearest pub (Scarborough). Great!"

    I can handle it, no realy I can!

  41. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    £100k on booze?!?!

    Damn ... I could buy two apartments like the one I rent and still have plenty to spare! (My flat goes around £40k or something like that)

    Now my other question would be: do these guys still have livers? That is an obscene amount of alcohol there!!!

  42. Jon Tocker

    re: Down the drain

    Giles is quite right - alcohol is never "purchased", merely "rented" and 105K pounds is a hell of a rental price for an evening. They'd be lucky if 100 pounds worth of the stuff actually left the club's premises before making its own way to the same sewerage treatment plant as the rest of it.

    Personally, I'll stick with the "lower rent" stuff and in lesser quantities...

  43. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Re: ‘Price still doesn't add up’

    Pete -

    Remember that, as I mentioned, restaurants/bars are required to sell ALL alcoholic beverages at per-drink prices. For example, if a bar sells shots of tequila @ $5/one-ounce shot: 750 ml / 30 ml (generous, for ease of calculation) = 25 shots/bottle. Thus, if one were foolish enough to buy a full bottle of tequila at that bar, they would BY LAW sell it to you for $125 and smile widely as they did so. (Not bad for a $15 bottle of Cuervo!)

    Next time you go out to dinner, note the prices of a couple of wines on the respaurant's list. If they sell them by the glass AND by the bottle, so much the better. Standard rule of thumb is that there are 5 "glasses" in a 750 ml bottle. (5 oz., a bit less than 150 ml.)

    So for a wine that is priced at $5/glass, a full bottle should cost you around $25 at the restaurant.(Note that if they're generous with their glasses, you may get 4 drinks/bottle; if they're stingy, 6. This may be reflected in their per bottle price.)

    Now, take your list to a liquor store and check the retail prices. Your $25 restaurant bottle is probably a $10 - $15 retail bottle. (The "per-drink" markup isn't as horrendous as in the tequila example above, because there are fewer glasses of wine in a bottle.

    BUT, with a 6 L Methuselah, you're back to the same drink/bottle numbers as you were with the tequila in the prevoius example - in this case 6 l /150 ml = 40 glasses/bottle. So, even if you were drinking the house bubbly at $7.50/glass (probably a $12 - 20 retail brand), a Methuselah of it would set you back $300 at that restaurant. Now figure your price differential between Chateau Whizz du Chat and Roderer Cristal and your $17,000 retail bottle could conceivably become a $30,000 one at table...

  44. Rich

    Titanium bottles

    I reckon there'd be a market for a Titanium archimandrite (or whatever you call a 100L bottle) of bubbles. Or even some more exotic metal like a beryllium/technetium alloy? Wouldn't get smashed, either - unlike the users.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BOFH

    Sounds to me like the BOFH has got the bosses credit card again!

  46. |333173|3|_||3

    IS Dubai dry?

    IF so, then he could be doing a few weeks worth of drinking at once. Also, as other posters have pointed out, not only would there have been the 18 friends, but also a load of hangers-on and girls.

    Anyway, it's better that he goes and spends all that in London than elsehwere, since that improves the British economy by adding a load of forgien cash.

  47. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    @russell

    "By RussellPosted Wednesday 25th July 2007 12:08 GMT ... until he files his expenses claim for that one.

    Incidentally, Nano nano is correct - Tesco's own brand vintage champers (2000 was the one I tried) is incredible value and came second in some taste test or something."

    or was it "tasted like second-hand"

    ;)

  48. Gavin Watkinson

    re: Is Dubai Dry

    No, however all bars, restuarants are off street (usually in hotels), so they cant be seen by anyone who might be offended.

    If you want to buy alcohol for the home, then you need a licence. How much you can buy each month depends on how much you earn. You can only buy from bottle shops, think large off-licences.

    Each emirate is different, Ras Al Khaimah, you dont need a licence and can buy what you like, Sharjah is dry (apart from the Wanderers pub). So on weekends we get people from Dubai driving up to the bottle shops in RAK, only problem is to get back to Dubai you have to go through Sharjah where its illegal to transport alcohol through.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't care what any of you say...

    ...I had a fucking good night.

  50. Hugh_Pym

    Useful rule of thumb

    I was once told that a bottle of wine in a restaurant is charged at double what you would pay in a off licence/supermarket. It usually works, at least in the kind of places I frequent, when you bear in mind they usually serve better wine than you might select from the supermarket shelf. In the UK generally glass/bottle prices are not really related. You would pay more if you buy a bottle's volume by the glass and if you don't specify you usually get a large glass (250-300ml).

    I think the prices in this article are based on the 'reverse accounting' principle especially as he was probably charged at the end of the night. The management decided how much they wanted to charge him based on what they think they can get away with and then distributed the charge around the cost centres. The IT angle is that that is how all government IT projects are costed.

  51. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Poor little rich kids

    Easy come, easy go, a perfect no-brainer. And not very impressive. An entertaining tale though.

    It could have been worse though if it had been titled.."£105k Suit in London blows bar" ...... or better, as IT is all just a matter of Taste.

  52. Diana

    If you have got it its yours to spend

    I can't imagine having that kind of pocket money and if I did I would spend it on something else. But maybe that person also gives huge donations to charity?

    Just wish it was my charity LOL

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cristal & Hip Hop? not anymore

    To the guy who said that hip-hoppers are the main customers it's not quite the case anymore...

    There was a minor scandal when one of the top-execs at

    Louis-roederer said he didn't want the predominantly black artists that make up the hiphop scene to drink their product as it was ruining their brand image.

    this led to a call for a boycott by the most famous 'rappers' (who also refused to stock it in the trendy bars/restaurants they all now own).

    unfortunately their rise to stardom seems to have lost them their way from being 'down with the streets' and shortly afterwards they put their support behind a new 'premium' brand of champagne (at about $250 a bottle) which in a 'dasani' style twist turned out to most likely be a repackaging of a bottle costing $20 normally. and was being manufactured by a company of which one of the rappers is financially involved.

    the story was originally broken by these guys...

    http://www.hiphopgame.com/index2.php3?page=armanddebrignac

    and followed up here...

    http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2006/10/is_the_champagn.html

    nothing like a little conspiracy to start the day.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meanwhile...

    half the world lives on $2 a day or less.

    Viva la Revolucion!

  55. Kelster

    For pity's sake...

    When you consider there are people suffering and dying in the world for want of a few quid it's totally nauseating that there are people who think spending this amount of money on, basically, showing off is acceptable. It just beggars belief. The 'opportunity cost' of every pound we spend on crap is someone else's suffering. I feel bad when I buy stuff I don't really need but decadence on this scale should be punishable by five years in an drought-ridden African village, or a Romianian orphanage (actually, the experience would prove to be rewarding). If you have cash to spare, go travelling. Take a trip to India - amazing place, shocking poverty, humbling...

  56. jason lee

    Re: BOFH

    I heard it was the PFY's birthday again, funded by - as you say - the boss's credit card and assisted by the secretary pool. ;)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a pretty good evening to me!

    Why does everyone whinge when someone with dosh blows it on some good wholesome fun?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Airmiles

    Just think, if the businessman had paid with his new American Express Lloyds TSB Airmiles credit card, at £10 per air mile he should be able to fly the enterage home again for minimal outlay...

  59. Scott Mckenzie

    Amazing...

    ...considering Cristal really isn't very nice at all....

    I'd have stuck with the far cheaper Dom Perignon or see if they had any Veuve lying around, hell i'd have made them go and get it for me at that price!

  60. Peter Kay

    Mike Moyle - pricing isn't like that in the UK

    Your posts are very informative, but pricing doesn't work like that over here.

    This is probably a good thing, as if it did restaurant wine would be even more of a ripoff than it already is... Whilst I would like to agree with another poster that restaurants supply a higher quality of wine, there are a distressing number of instances where it could be picked up in a reasonably well stocked Tesco for somewhat less than half price.

    I'm going to side with the club just being trendy ripoff artists. Even at the lower end of the scale drinks prices between venues can vary considerably; I'm sure at the VIP lounges people with too much money waste their time in, prices are even higher..

  61. Phil

    The Reg angle

    Possibly El Editore thinks it is a good idea to carry stuff Reg readers are interested in, regardless of IT content, and judging by the number of comments on this, it's working.

    If you want the dry technical details, there's always that other site, the one with the guy in the bunny suit.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice night for the staff

    or do you think the bar keeps the service charge?

  63. Dave Cheetham

    I've done that too!

    I know how the guy must have felt the next morning, splitting headache, blurred vision and for the life of me can't remember where I spent that extra £5 note...

  64. James Cleveland

    YOU

    may be rich, but I am happy.

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