Pickleball has swept the nation in recent years, and Charlotte is about to have a restaurant and pickleball complex as a great destination. The fast moving sport is getting a flagship, think TopGolf, but for pickleball. The complex called Rally will open early next year and will be a great addition to the Lower South End or LoSo neighborhood.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country with 4.8 million players and growing. It has been on cable TV as well as streaming services and even has a pro-league. So, if you haven’t yet heard about this phenomenon, what is pickleball? It’s an approachable sport that you can pick up quickly even if you are a total novice. It’s kind of like tennis and ping-pong had a wiffle ball baby. The court is smaller than a tennis court, so not as much running around, and you use large paddles, and a wiffle ball. It’s a social sport with two teams of one or two playing at a time. Games are quick (15 minutes or so) and fun, and anyone of any age can play.

To play, you serve underhand, let the ball bounce before returning the serve, and don’t hit the ball if it’s in the kitchen. The kitchen is the area 7 feet from the net on either side of the net. Games end after one player gets 11 points, but they must win by 2 points so occasionally scores can get higher than 11. If you are confused, there will be lessons offered. Lesson schedules are not yet available. 

The massive Rally entertainment complex will feature eight pickleball courts, with four indoors and four outdoors. Two cocktail bars, a restaurant, lounge space, event spaces, and spectator seating areas will help fill in the over 27,000 square feet. This concept is the brainchild of Barrett Worthington and Megan Charity of Rally Entertainment. Charity is a world-ranked pickleball professional who competes on the pro circuit. She will lead the pickleball program, social leagues, and other events.

Worthington will help oversee the other aspects of the project including a full-service restaurant featuring a global street food menu. They intend for the restaurant to be a true culinary adventure to help anchor the LoSo neighborhood. To help achieve those ends, they have partnered with an award-winning hospitality team. They are working on premium signature cocktails to be served in the bars, semi-private and private event spaces.

The location of the complex is at Old Pineville Road and Southside Drive on a parcel just over 1.89 acres. Liles Construction is the general contractor, architect is Redline Design Group and project management by Strata Project Management Group will help put the two buildings together to create the space. They will have landscaping by DPR. 

Once Rally is up and running, the team fully expects the concept to take hold and be perfect for expansion into other cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. This could be a launchpad for franchising across the country in the coming years as pickleball fever seems to be spreading like wildfire. This first location should break ground this spring.