But the glamour of a White Hart Lane showdown with Europe's finest quickly faded as Kevin Davies fired Bolton ahead from an offside position in the first half before Gretar Rafn Steinsson increased their lead after the interval.
Davies added a third from the penalty spot and, although Alan Hutton and Roman Pavlyuchenko struck for Tottenham to set up a nervous finish, Martin Petrov netted Bolton's fourth as Owen Coyle's side moved into fifth place ahead of Saturday's later games.
Bolton could have taken the lead inside the first minute when South Korean midfielder Lee Chung-yong picked out Matt Taylor unmarked in the penalty area but the midfielder failed to test Heurelho Gomes with a wild shot.
Gareth Bale's reputation has soared to new heights since his superb displays against Inter over the last month.
The Spurs winger had tormented Inter right-back Maicon, regarded as one of the best in the world in his position, on Tuesday but his lung-bursting surges down the left weren't quite so effective here.
There was little between the teams when Bolton punished a mistake by Brazilian midfielder Sandro to take the lead in the 31st minute.
Sandro squandered possession to Fabrice Muamba and he played the ball on to Taylor, who then slipped it through to Davies.
The England striker was a yard offside, but the flag stayed down and he found the bottom corner for his third goal of the campaign.
Tottenham almost drew level in the 52nd minute following a superb free-kick from Bale that shaved the outside of Jussi Jaaskelainen's post.
But the momentum swung back to Bolton as Wanderers extended their lead in the 56th minute when Steinsson got on the end of a cut back from Johan Elmander to shoot past Gomes for his first goal of the season.
Davies seemed to have killed off Spurs when he made it 3-0 with a penalty after 75 minutes following Benoit Assou-Ekotto's push on Lee.
But a fine run and finish from Alan Hutton in the 79th minute was followed by a blistering volley from substitute Pavlyuchenko nine minutes later as Spurs fought back.
A tense finale ensued before Petrov sealed Bolton's victory with a cool strike in stoppage time.
Source: AFP Global Edition