Banker with 'insane' bonus says £36,000 drinks bill is on him

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A FINANCIER ran up a £36,000 bar bill after announcing to delighted revellers "the drinks are on me". At the end of the night the man, who said he was a hedge fund manager and had just been paid an "insane" bonus, left a £3,000 tip for the waitress.

The evening started quietly when the man arrived with around ten male friends at London members club, Aviva.

But, after spotting Revolver actress Jasmine Lennard, he embarked on a drinks spree including Dom Perignon and Roederer Cristal champagnes.

An onlooker at the Aviva bar in Kensington's five-star Baglioni Hotel said: "He seemed to take a bit of a fancy to Jasmine because he recognised her from the movie trailers and kept sending bottles of champagne over to her table, where she was with her boyfriend and some friends.

"Her bloke seemed a little put out, but it was just a bit of fun and there were no cross words."

The big spender, said to be a New Yorker, then put his black American Express card behind the bar and told managers to buy everyone there whatever they wanted all night.

"From then it just went crazy," said a source. "He ordered magnum after magnum of Louis Roederer Cristal. He said he was a hedge fund manager and had just struck a huge deal over here and was given this insane bonus.

"The only thing he asked was that staff let him know every time the bill went up by a grand. He was really sweet about it and although he was spending a fortune he wasn't at all arrogant about it."

The source added: "In the end the bar ran out of Cristal magnums and he had to move on to the normal-sized bottles."

Lennard said: "I was very flattered to be receiving so much attention." But the actress added: "Even though the guy was very sweet, it was not quite enough to make me leave my boyfriend. Maybe he could try diamonds next time."

Customers also put away 851 cocktails - with a combined price tag alone of 5,959. Another onlooker said the man announced he had just earned 3 million from one deal. But a shocked young waitress also became a big winner when he tipped her 3,000.

"She was stunned and didn't believe it," said a friend. "She's only been working there a fortnight and is a student studying languages. She's really sweet and innocent, not like some people who work in those clubs.

"She had to keep asking the manager, 'Did he mean 3,000? Hasn't he made a mistake?'

"Now she's so shy about it she doesn't want anyone to know who she is."

The record for the largest restaurant bill is 45,000, at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, Petrus, in 2001. Six bankers were out celebrating a deal and marked the occasion by raiding the finest vintages on the wine list.

In 2004, seven wine-lovers spent 42,000 at the same restaurant. The tab was picked up by wealthy Swiss financier, Dieter Behring. The group's food is thought to have cost no more than 500, yet the bill came to 6,000 a head.

The remainder is believed to have been spent on expensive bottles of wine. A bottle of 1947 Chateau Petrus Pomerol costs 12,300 at the restaurant.

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