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Clinton Hill's New Cafe The Joint Opens in Former Speakeasy Space

By Janet Upadhye | December 14, 2012 2:24pm

CLINTON HILL — Taryn Groth didn’t expect to find the remains of a 1930s speakeasy in the basement of a storefront Myrtle Avenue. Nor did she hope to find intricately designed tin ceiling panels, aged red brick, and delicate crown moldings secreted under eight inches of cement plaster.

But six months ago, when she placed a respirator mask on her face and took a sledgehammer to the walls of her new newly rented space, what she uncovered was a gem.

“The space unfolded in such a beautiful way,” Groth explained. “It felt like a dream come true.”

Groth and her girlfriend, Tanya Rynd, have converted the demolished storefront at 471 Myrtle Ave., which was most recently a flower shop, into Clinton Hill’s newest cafe.

The Joint has tiled floors accented with recovered hardwood, deep-red painted walls and specially made chairs and benches. And since its opening a little more than a month ago, The Joint has consistently hosted a roomful of locals coming for their strong brews and homemade treats.

“It is just catching like fire,” Rynd said. “It’s quite special to see it happen.”

According to Rynd, since the closing of Tillie’s of Brooklyn on DeKalb Avenue, there have been very few spaces for locals to sip coffee and spend the day.  She mentioned Pillow Café a block down, but said The Joint was slightly different and that there's room for them both.

Open less than a month, The Joint serves strong cappuccinos, Posole Turkey Stew and artisanal sandwiches made with olive-stuffed ciabbatta. Rynd, also co-owner of DUMBO’s Superfine, calls the evolving menu “fresh and straightforward.”

And the locals are making repeat visits.

“This is my third day in a row here,” said CUNY student Joanna Spinks, 28. “It’s a great place to study and feel creative.”

Groth and Rynd have big plans for the future of the space. Eventually, they want to host art shows, open mic nights, poetry readings and will soon apply for a beer and wine license. In the backyard garden they plan to grow vegetables and herbs to use in their menu.

Rynd also plans to display some of the treasures — antique silverware, retro tools and handwritten speakeasy receipts — she found while hacking into the layers of walls that covered The Joint.

“We have great expectations,” she said. “Myrtle Avenue is blowing up, and we hope that The Joint will be a part of it.”

The Joint is hosting a Grand Opening Party on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 7 p.m. on. There will be food, free samples and surprise entertainment.