Three new mononuclear square planar Ni(II) complexes, containing pincer type tridentate Schiff base ligands, having general formula [(NiL1(4-MePy)] (1), [(NiL1(2-AzNp)] (2), and [(NiL2(4-MePy)] (3) [where L1 = anion of N-(2-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylidene) benzoylhydrazide (HL1), L2 = anion of N-(2-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylidene) thiosemicarbazide (HL2), 4-MePy = 4-Methylpyridine and 2-AzNp = 2-Azanapthalene] have been synthesized and fully characterized by FT-IR, UV–visible, NMR, single crystal X-ray diffraction studies and elemental analysis. All the three complexes show square planar geometry around the nickel atom. The pincer type ligand occupies three coordination sites, while the fourth site is occupied by the monodentate nitrogen containing ligand. The Quantum chemical DFT calculations have also been carried out using DFT/B3LYP method and 6-311++G(d,p) basis set. The synthesized nickel complexes were screened for antimicrobial activities by agar well diffusion method against E. coli bacteria. Out of three complexes, [(NiL2(4-MePy)] (3) only showed the antimicrobial activity against E. coli bacteria. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.