The runaway success of Hi Tops, the one-year-old gay sports bar in the Castro that has become so much more than that to a generation — nay, several generations — of local homosexuals, has laid the path for an expansion by the owners to a new venture across the street. Co-owners Dana Gleim and Jesse Woodward have inked a deal for a 3,000-square-foot ground-floor space in the new Century development at 2200 Market Street, at Sanchez and 14th.

That building stands on the lot once occupied by the Mexican restaurant Leticia's, and before that Thai House Express, and longtime residents of the neighborhood will remember that Leticia's was once the occupant of the space that Hi Tops is in now, before it became Lime. Former restaurateur Leticia Luna, in fact, owns the building that Hi Tops is in with her family, and was the developer of the Century property, so it makes sense that she'd want to work with her new successful retail tenants again.

Gleim and Woodward know that they want to open a sit-down Mexican spot, and as Woodward told the Bay Area Reporter this week, "This will not be a taqueria." Details are few at this point in terms of who'll be doing the food, or even what the name will be, but you can expect the concept to be fresher and savvier than Leticia's in its last years.

The new restaurant, which still has to get Planning approvals, is great news for the neighborhood after a minor uproar over the fact that the ground-floor space at the prominent Icon building up the street went to boring old Bank of the West. Luna had similarly tried to go that direction, having the ground-floor space designed for a bank, but Supervisor Scott Wiener responded to neighborhood complaints and declared an 18-month moratorium on new "financial businesses" coming into the neighborhood, which forced Luna to seek a more desirable tenant for the space.

Meanwhile, Hi Tops is coming up on its one-year anniversary, and you can expect to see the bar figure prominently, in at least a couple of episodes, of the final season MTV's Real World — the camera crew and at least one (gay) cast member have been spotted there shooting a few times.

[Bay Area Reporter]