"Piano Vache felt both unpretentious and like an institution—the walls covered with overlapping posters advertising music and jazz acts, some of them dating back to the fifties, the support columns in the two interconnected rooms covered with chalk drawings, the lighting soft and the acoustics crisp. The decorations were eclectic—an old radio here; a guitar hung from the ceiling there; an antique piano with a stuffed cow’s head over it, from which Horton supposed the bar took its name. The place was on the ground floor, but it had a subterranean feel, like something hidden or secret or frequented only by initiates. Rain had been right—given the early hour, it was only about half-full, mostly with hipster and student types. There was a pleasant buzz of conversation mingled with French pop from a stereo—the kind of background chatter that would allow two people to talk privately and not have to shout."