Two bar owners who just can't seem to get their fill of opening new bars, Ben Bleiman and Duncan Ley, are adding to their ever-growing portfolio once again, taking over the lease at beloved Berkeley haunt Spats (1974 Shattuck Avenue). We previously heard last summer that some new owners had bought the place and were on the hunt for new operators, and now the SF Business Times reports that Bleiman and Ley are the guys stepping into that role with their Tonic Nightlife Group. It is their first bar project outside San Francisco.

This news comes just shortly after the opening of their latest, Buffalo Club, in the Mission — in the space formerly known as Specchio. Tonic Nightlife Group now has under its belt seven bars around town: Tonic, Bullitt, Soda Popinski’s, Lightning Tavern, Wild Hare, and Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem, as well as the short-lived Royal Tug Yacht Club and the former Rebel.

It's not completely clear, but it sounds like Bleiman and Ley plan to keep the name Spats, out of deference to the place's history, and they want to maintain its "funky, whimsical" vibe. Spats was last open in 2009, and had been on the market for four years when new developer-owners arrived last year. It could be that reopening Spats is only Phase 1 of a longer plan that could involve demolition and condo construction, however they will first have to work their way through Berkeley's notoriously rough bureaucracy.

There will be food, and Bleiman says they're hoping to cater to more than just the college-kid crowd. "We're the place people go to when they don't want to go out to dinner necessarily, but they want to grab a good burger."

Look for the new Spats to debut around April.

Previously: Longtime Berkeley Bar Spats, Shuttered For Five Years, May Reopen This Fall