By Belinda Goldsmith
LONDON (Reuters) - With some events over, Olympians are being wooed by London nightclubs offering free entry and drinks, with one even treating gold medallists to a 2,012 pound cocktail.
Restaurants and shops had complained the Olympics had turned central London into a ghost town, with Londoners watching the action from the couch at home and tourists avoiding the city.
But with many of the 10,800 athletes out to have fun after years of hard work, they are being welcomed with open arms at bars and nightclubs.
Nightclub Chinawhite in Fitzrovia is hosting Games parties in its Last Lap bar, set up in partnership with Australian company ESP that provides entertainment for athletes at major events, and is offering gold medallists a free Golden Cocktail.
The 2,012 pound concoction is made of cognac and champagne flecked with gold with three gold rings sunk in the glass.
"We've given out quite a few so far to people wearing gold medals," Chinawhite's Club Director James Spallone told Reuters, adding staff were well aware of who had won golds so would not be duped by wannabes.
"London was quieter but it really has picked up now."
He declined to say which athletes had received the Golden Cocktail but U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, who won five medals at London, and South African Chad le Clos, who beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly, have been photographed leaving the club.
British newspapers are full of photos of partying athletes.
British cyclist Bradley Wiggins was photographed rubbing shoulders with musician Paul Weller, British swimmers Rebecca Adlington and team mates were snapped at Kensington Roof Gardens, and Phelps was nabbed at a party in Soho.
Celebrity haunt Mahiki in upmarket Mayfair is hosting nightly parties for British athletes, with a spokeswoman saying the club was "super busy" and a favourite with Olympians.
The Dukes, a boutique hotel in Mayfair just a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace, also reported brisk trade and good demand for a 16.95 pound Five Rings Martini made of vermouth, Grand Marnier, vodka infused with ginger and orange peel, vermouth and a ginger liqueur.
Ahead of the Games, musical impresario and theatre owner Andrew Lloyd-Weber had predicted a "bloodbath" in London's theatre district, the West End, during the Olympics.
By Wednesday, as the athletes came out to play, he was eating his words.
Figures show takings at his theatres in London have risen 25 percent since the Games began on July 27 with Britons coming to the shows even though the number of foreign visitors is down.
"I'm the one who said it would all be doom and gloom in the West End, but I have been proved wrong and I couldn't be more delighted about that," Lloyd-Webber told a British paper.
Elsewhere in London bartenders have been busy channelling the Olympic spirit into cocktails.
The Ritz on Piccadilly has a 26 pound cocktail called United Dream with gin, a gingery liqueur, feijoa fruit and tonka beans, while The Savoy is serving Unity Punch in a silver teapot with gin, lemon juice, camomile tea, and some homemade lemon, sage syrup and celery bitters.
The Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts chain in London had devised five Olympic-themed cocktails on sale at its five London hotels called Out Of The Blue, Finishing Line, Off With A Bang, Roadrunner, and False Start.
Chinawhite is giving magnums of Moet champagne to medallists.
"They are all having a great time. Some of these athletes have trained for eight years to get here and they really deserve to let their hair down," Spallone said.
(Editing by Alison Williams)