The AQR Not the Christmas party has always been one of the best MR socials in the calendar. It’s the AQR’s way of saying thank you to its members by treating them to cocktails, drinks, light bites, fun and the opportunity to network in beautiful surroundings without the price tags associated with some of the best, well known London bars.

After the last few years at the Ivy, this year’s party destination was Mahiki, just opposite the Ritz. The club is (or used to be) popular with celebrities and the Royals. It’s named after the Polynesian path to the underworld and i-view thought it better to be there early to adjust to its surroundings and have a cocktail,... for research purposes only, of course.

After wandering into the exotic lounge, all in tiki décor, on the lower level, I felt transported to a holiday isle. Strangely, we were not the first AQR members to arrive. Other researchers had had the same thought, lured by the wow factor of the club’s cocktails.

Pretty soon others started to arrive and at 7pm we were moved through the labyrinth to our dedicated room. It was darker and less exotic than the previous one but the AQR members added their own tropical flair and lit up the room. Big smiles, chatting with old friends about Christmas, New Year break, was January a good start for everyone or a bit slow? What was the industry mood? How’s your cocktail?

It would not be easy to research whether AQR members prefer gin-based cocktails (in the green vases) to rum-based ones (yellow vases) as all the pre-prepared drinks on the bar bench disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Will we return to Mahiki or venture somewhere new next time? Well, we need to wait until November 2019! Thank you AQR for treating us like celebrities and bringing us to a gem of a place, where we could connect with other researchers, and which I might never have experienced otherwise.