It's unlikely they're still celebrating. Today, five of the diners have reportedly lost their jobs, and the sixth is keeping a low profile.
The Petrus restaurant — a self-styled destination for "movers and shakers" in London's St. James's district — released details of the bill to the media after the meal last July. But on Tuesday night, staff at the lush, low-key dining room said politely but firmly that they were not allowed to speak to the media about this issue.
The party spent $62,679, most of it on wine, including a bottle of 1945 Chateau Petrus Bordeaux priced at $16,500; a $13,400 bottle of the 1946 vintage; and a bottle of the 1947 Petrus at $17,500. The dessert wine cost $13,100.
The restaurant did not even charge the party for the several hundred dollars worth of food it consumed. The bill was just for drinks, cigarettes and tax.
CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports the bankers actually paid the check themselves, although some of them later tried to write it off as a client expense.
The restaurant's public relations firm, Sauce Communications, confirmed the cost of the meal but said Petrus had not released the diners' names to the media.
The restaurant is known for its fine — and expensive — wines. Among the vintages being offered Tuesday on the 21-page wine list were a 1961 Petrus at $17,800 and a 1928 vintage at $16,500.
Tom Forrest, a wine expert at London wine museum Vinopolis, said the bankers chose well. The combination of clay soil and careful tending makes Petrus wines among the most sought-after in the world, he said, and the vintages from the mid-1940s are especially valued.
"It is recognized as one of the great wines of the world," Forrest said.
British newspapers identified the diners as employees of Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays, Britain's largest bank. Four were named as Dayananda Kumar, Mahish Chandra and Iftikhar Hyder from the London office, and Ruth Cove from the bank's New York office. The names of the other two are not known.
Newspapers reported this week that all but one of the diners had been fired by the bank over the last few months. Hyder — who had recently joined the bank at the time of the meal — reportedly was the only one to keep his job.
Barclays Capital refused to comment, but a source at the company said the news reports were true. The Barclays' London switchboard did not have Kumar listed in its directory. An employee who answered the phone at Chandra's extension said he no longer worked for the company.
Hyder, who now works in the New York office, did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press.
On Monday, London's Evening Standard newspaper quoted Kumar as saying he paid $12,800 of the tab, even though he had not drunk any wine. "To be honest, I'm not that bothered about it," Kumar was quoted as saying.
"I've been on lots of expeditions since I left the bank. I went climbing on Everest, I've just come back from Kilimanjaro, and I'm off to the North Pole soon. It's no real problem."
Many British banks have shed employees recently, but Barclays is one of the stronger performers.
The bank this month announced pretax profits of $5.3 billion for 2001, up 9 percent from the previous year. Operating profits at its business banking arm rose 5 percent to $1.7 billion.
Some commentators saw the Petrus episode as a sign that the financial sector's high-spending days are over.
"The biggest problem that has arisen from this is that nobody in the City is prepared to eat in restaurants any more after big deals," the Evening Standard quoted Kumar as saying. "It's too risky."