Austerity might be all the rage for debt-issuing sovereigns in Europe these days.
But it certainly hasn't taken hold of the financial sector's would-be BSD's. The Evening Standard reports that we're right back to the boom times, at least when it comes to the kind of strip clubs favored by London's traders:
Andrew Hawes, managing director of Bollinger UK, said it was currently impossible to get enough of its £120-a-bottle Special Cuvée into Britain because demand is so strong.
He said: “There was a time when people certainly didn't want to be seen with an expensive bottle of champagne — but we're past that phase now.”
Both Bugatti and Ferrari have sold out of their latest models and Louis Vuitton is building a new factory to cope with demand — much of it from London.
The spending boom is being fuelled by the prospect of a second consecutive year of bumper bonuses in the City — an estimated £7?billion will be handed out this winter — combined with a record influx of high-spending Arabs.
The imminent return of a rejuvenated Savoy, complete with £38,000 of gold leaf in its new Beaufort Bar, after a sumptuous makeover is also being seen as a sign that it is acceptable to be rich again.
Even City traders' Tottenham Court Road lap dancing hangout Spearmint Rhino, which fell heavily out of favor during the credit crunch years, is back in vogue.
Vice-president John Specht said: “We sold out of Cristal champagne last night and that stuff costs £395 a bottle. Six City guys come in and drop £5,000 to take the VIP area for the evening.
“A few nights ago we had four guys from the Middle East who bought £20,000 in chips for dances and drinks. After service charges they spent £24,000. It's shocking, it's back to the days of five or six years ago. Those sort of customers are starting to come back—there's been a huge increase just in the past five or six weeks.”
Let the good times roll.
(Hat tip: Bess Levin, of course .)
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