The indoor facility features five courts, as well as premium bar bites and an extensive cocktail menu.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid pickleball in Boston these days. Once the preserve of Boomer retirees, the hobby has quickly turned into a business for all ages. Of course, your parents picked it up. But, depending on what circles you’re in, so have half your college buddies, or their kids, and a critical mass of billionaires, A-list celebrities, reality TV stars, and even a increasing number of professional tennis players who have started hanging up their racquets for paddles. And every day, in Boston’s many YMCA public parks and gymnasiums, the pickleball choir strokes gets stronger and stronger.
So what’s a budding local pickleball player to do when the time finally comes to give in and try this thing out once and for all?
PKL, the newest boating and cocktail emporium opening in South Boston, may have the answer.
The company, which is building on the success of its popular pickleball pop-up at Assembly Row last summer, is bringing its hip, deceptive take on the sport in an indoor brick-and-mortar location, in a 22,000 square foot space at Southie’s Iron Mill Building. It opens on Saturday June 18.
The space will feature five regulation pickleball courts, four shuffleboard courts, two cocktail bars and a restaurant, as well as ample lounge space and, for good measure, space to toss cornhole bags between games. .
We toured the facilities last month as they came together, and it’s clear that what sets this location apart from all of the competitors available in Greater Boston are the vibes. Inside you’ll find stylish lounges, plenty of cabana seating, Boston wall art it girl Blind Fox murals (credits include Lolita, Mariel, and sexy table tennis concept SPIN) that get heavy use of the brand’s cheeky “space monkey” logo. , and a dance-ready sound system, plus a liquor license that keeps it going until 2 a.m. on weekend nights.
Its menu, created by Chopped Christopher Walker, Savenor’s champion and general manager, includes shareable dishes like Seared Tuna, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Waffle Bites and Wagyu Beef Pigs in a Blanket. At the bar, you can order craft cocktails, mocktails, and beers (including an exclusive Castle Island variety available only there and at the nearby brewery.)
In other words, it’s exactly the mix of accommodations that PKL hopes to make the facility a magnet for young players, especially those trying it out for the very first time and unfamiliar with it. the rules, or maybe not yet ready to go to a municipal. runs and play pickup matches.
“It can be daunting if you don’t know the game,” PKL managing partner Kaitlyn Coakley told me during a tour of the yet-to-be-opened space. But here, she says, “You can take it seriously, or you can just come and play.”
Pickleball courts are reserved in advance and rented by the hour, at rates ranging from $25 to $50, depending on the time of day. Shuffleboard will cost you $30 per hour. Cornhole is free.
PKL provides paddles and whiffle-balls. Visitors looking for help can seek advice from pickleball experts or sign up for lessons ($100 per hour for a group of four). More experienced players are welcome to organize tournaments or join an official league. Not sure if you’re ready to dive in headfirst? Coakley says she urges all “pickle virgins” (their words, not mine) to drop by for a bite and just watch the action unfold.
Although a first for Boston specifically, PKL follows in the footsteps of other elevated pickleball concepts that have become popular in the Midwest, or Pickles, an indoor pickleball facility with more of a club vibe. healthcare which opened last year in Hannover. .
PKL comes to us via Dustin Martin and Brian Weller of local Barry fame. Coakley says the idea for the city’s first luxury paddling destination was born in the turmoil of 2020, a time when everyone, including the city’s workout entrepreneurs, were responding to the pandemic and adjusting their hobby accordingly.
“We’ve all been forced to socialize outdoors, and we’ve all come from the fitness industry, so bonding around social sports games like this came very naturally,” she says. “And then it had to be, like, ‘OK, who brings the cocktails? Who do we hang out with afterwards? And that’s how this concept was born.
Now, the PKL team hopes that this Southie location will be just the first in a long line. They plan to bring the brand to other equally pickle-hungry cities.
After all, if the pickleball trend shows no signs of slowing down, why not take your space monkey to the moon?
PKL opens on Saturday June 18. Find him at 64 C St. in South Boston. playpkl.com