Michigan’s first sober bar, Wing Heaven Sports Haven, opened in Lansing

LANSING – Think Buffalo Wild Wings, but without alcohol.

That’s how co-owner Teresa Stokes described Wing Heaven Sports Haven, the state’s first sober bar, which opens next week in Lansing.

It has the TVs, the pool tables, the air hockey – everything a sports bar needs to be successful. Just no alcohol.

The bar is specifically aimed at those in recovery, or on parole or parole – anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to be around alcohol, Stokes said.

A bar area and game tables in Wing Heaven Sports Haven on South Martin Luther King Boulevard.  in Lansing.

“If you’re on parole or something, you can’t even go to Applebee because they serve alcohol,” Stokes said. “But you still need somewhere to get socially involved other than AA or NA meetings.”

This is where Stokes and her wife Ayanna Ballard come in.

Owning Pinnacle Recovery Services in Lansing with Alina Branscombe, Stokes knows firsthand the limited opportunities for people in recovery to find places to socialize.

“It’s a place where you don’t have to worry about the next table ordering a drink,” said Stokes. “You can come here and watch a game, shoot billiards or play air hockey. It’s the same environment as a bar, minus the booze.”

Jamel Ballard, General Manager of Wing Heaven Sports Haven, pictured at the new on Thursday, March 11, 2021

The bar opens on March 15 at 3812 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, Stokes said.

Currently, Wing Heaven Sports Haven is only running. But customers can sit freely and watch a game or play a game of pool while they wait for their food, Stokes said.

The Stokes and Ballard restaurant is part of the Wing Heaven franchise. It’s a proven flavor in Lansing, Stokes said – one they can make a sober, comfortable environment for people in recovery.

The menu features traditional and boneless wings, burgers, fried fish sandwiches, fish and shrimp, chicken strips and chicken gizzards. They also serve side dishes like french fries, macaroni wedges, fried pickles, bacon and cheddar wedges, and fried okra.

Instead of alcohol, drinks like Fizzy Pineapple Punch, Mermaid Lemonade and Bangin ‘Blueberry Lemonade are served at the bar.

A dining area in Wing Heaven Sports Haven on South Martin Luther King Boulevard.  in Lansing.

Stokes and Ballard came up with the sober bar idea before the pandemic started, Stokes said. But they didn’t intend for it to be a grand piano until they were given the opportunity to buy the restaurant in August.

Stokes said they had received a lot of positive feedback about the bar.

“This is what the recovery community said they wanted,” Stokes said. “We hope to be of benefit to the entire community … It has to start somewhere and this won’t be the first (sober bar) we open.”

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