With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to put the kibosh on most in-person think tank events, people have started to turn to private salons or "smarty parties" to get their in-person intellectual stimulation.
Here is more from the New York Times:
Across the country individuals and companies are staging their own salons. They may resemble cocktail parties or seminars or networking events — and some are sponsored, as the SoHo salon was, by St. Germain liqueur (the brand also conceived and co-hosted the event). But they are distinguished from those other events in one important way: all participants are expected to partake in communal, meaty conversations while having fun at the same time.
Historically, salons have become popular after dark periods, said Jesse Browner, author of the 2003 book “The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down: An Informal History of Hospitality.” One of the very first salons, hosted in Paris by a marquess named Catherine de Vivonne, happened in the early 1600s after a period of religious warfare.
There have always been private salons taking place in Washington, DC and elsewhere, but there now seems to be a proliferation as such gatherings as people try to break the monotony of Zoom fatigue and working from home and seek deeper human interaction.