As a newbie to the AQR party scene I was in intrigued about what to expect from the moment I received my invite, way back in the blur of Christmas festivities. Fast forward a month or so and I’m happily sipping on my large glass of white wine, surrounded by chatter, at AQR’s "Not the Christmas party".

This event is designed to bring qualitative reseachers together, allowing us to chat, mingle and meet new people in a relaxed and informal environment. It did exactly that.

The location — chosen for the third time because it’s so popular with members — was The Ivy in Soho, a venue so iconic that I was only too eager to explore. It did not disappoint. Waiting staff greeted us at the top of the spiral stairs with wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks (for those determined to remain sober). What a good start. The spacious upper floor, with a glittering bar in its centre, provided the perfect arena for mingling with faces old and new, serenaded by a pianist who was only too happy to take requests.

It was a great opportunity to meet a variety of people from across the industry, with folk from research agencies, freelancers, and recruitment agencies crowding the floor. Our drinks were generously and continuously topped up throughout the evening, and all heads turned as lobster and courgette canapes emerged from behind closed doors.

In fact, there was a continuous procession of delicious nibbles. The food and drinks certainly hit the spot, and animated chatter continued for a good few hours. Until, that is, we remembered that it was a Thursday, and not a Friday night, with work demands looming for everyone the following day.

Overall, it was lovely evening. It provided a fantastic opportunity to put faces to some of the names I had heard about since starting at Razor in January. I did, unfortunately, miss out on sampling the cocktail of the night: ‘the incentive’. That’s my only regret but… there’s always next year! Thanks, AQR.