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The history of Le Bœuf sur le Toit is closely tied to that of a joyful band of poets and musicians led by Cocteau and Milhaud who met on Saturday nights in the exuberant enthusiasm of jazz and triumphant Dadaism. When the young Louis Moysès enlisted Jean Wiener, a pianist friend of Milhaud, to play at the tiny bar he opened on Rue Duphot in 1921, these Samedistes made it their meeting place in spite of the cramped quarters. When it fell victim to its meteoric success, Le Gaya had to take its teeming, buoyant clientele elsewhere.
Reconvening at a new location, Moysès-awed by his good fortune-put his restaurant under the auspices of Cocteau and Milhaud. He named it Le Bœuf sur le Toit, after the Brazilian refrain that had recently inspired the two artists' composition and ballet of the same name. For nearly 20 years, through the noise and laughter and dances and cocktail parties, the Bœuf would jump to five different roofs in the 8th arrondissement before settling on the Rue du Colisée in 1941, followed by its elegant, loyal and trendy retinue.