The owners of FM Kitchen & Bar are dedicating a new bar to one of America’s fastest-growing sports — pickleball.
Located at 1102 Shepherd Drive, PKL Social (pronounced “pickle) will open this fall, featuring four pickleball courts available on a pay-to-play basis, a covered deck space available for private events, various yard games, cabanas, big-screen TVs, and more than 10,000 square feet of dog-friendly patio space. The bar will also feature various sports leagues, clinics, and drop-in times for players to “open-play,” compete, and network with each other.
The bar will also provide plenty of fuel in the form of cocktails, beer, seltzers, and non-alcoholic options, plus a menu featuring some of FM Kitchen & Bar’s most popular dishes, including its juicy FM Burger, its spicy fried chicken sandwich, wings, tater tots, and breakfast tacos.
Jason Mok, an operating partner of both PKL and FM, says the idea for the pickleball bar came after a trip to Austin where he played in his first pickleball match. Mok, who played tennis for Rice University while in college, thought pickleball — a hybrid of badminton, ping pong, and tennis — to be an approachable and relatively easy sport to partake in, and he wanted to make it more accessible in the Houston area, he says.
Though sports bars dedicated to pickleball are seemingly rare in Houston, PKL won’t be the first. East End sports bar Bumpy Pickle also celebrates the sport with nine pickleball courts private and group lessons, and other activities, like ping pong tables, darts, corn hole, mini-golf, and volleyball.
According to a 2022 report by Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball is gaining traction all over the country. It was reported as one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. — attracting 4.8 million players in 2021 alone.