in a pkl

New pickleball paradise with massive patio swings into Washington Avenue

New pickleball paradise with massive patio swings into WashAve

PKL Social pickleball bar rendering
PKL Social will open this fall. Rendering by Loe Ortega Architecture

Pickleball-playing Houstonians will soon have a new bar pitched to their pastime. PKL Social will open this fall with four courts, a covered deck, cabanas, and more than 10,000-square-feet of patio space.

The bar comes from the owners of FM Kitchen & Bar, the comfort food restaurant with two Inner Loop locations. Located in an existing two-story building next to FM Kitchen's restaurant on Shepherd Drive, PKL Social's patio and pickleball courts will be situated along Center Street. Plans include tearing down the former Aura nightclub space to create additional parking for both concepts.

FM Kitchen operating partner Jason Mok, a former Rice University tennis player, discovered pickleball during a trip to Austin. For those unfamiliar with the sport, it combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Played either one-on-one or two-on-two, the smaller, badminton-sized court makes it relatively easy to learn and promotes social interaction between the players. Those aspects all appealed to Mok.

“Pickleball’s X-factor, in my opinion, is that it’s such a fun, social activity but also very approachable and relatively easy to pick up compared to tennis or golf," Mok said in a statement. "Making pickleball more accessible and combining it with the lively outdoor patio and sports bar atmosphere is something that we felt the Inner Loop was missing, and we can’t wait to bring this new and unique concept to Houston.”

Courts will be available on a pay-to-play basis. In addition, PKL will host leagues, clinics, and open-play to make pickleball accessible to players of all skill levels.

A tidy food menu will feature some of FM Kitchen's most popular dishes such as burgers, wings, the spicy fried chicken sandwich, and tater tots. Beverage options will include easy drinking cocktails such as a cherry limeade and frozen paloma as well as beers, seltzers, and non-alcoholic options.