Ditch the Tie: Cool Gifts for the Cool Dad This Father’s Day

Instant film and 35mm film cameras are hip these days.EXPAND
Instant film and 35mm film cameras are hip these days.
Diamond Rodrigue
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Father’s Day is like a second birthday for dads and one of the highlights of parenthood. But instead of gifting him (another) neck tie or shave kit, ditch the prepackaged gift sets and show the dad in your life that he can do much better with any of the following Father's Day ideas. After all, there’s dads, and then there’s cool dads.

The Dad Who Needs a New Hobby

Don’s Used Photo Equipment,

For the dad who needs a new toy, photography opens up a whole world of options. While smartphones these days are almost as good as a real camera, there’s nothing like learning the ins and outs of an analog, 35mm film camera, an instant film camera or other larger formats of film cameras. Don’s Used Photo Equipment, located in the Design District, has plenty of cameras to choose from, and the staff is pretty helpful, especially if dad’s a beginner. And while more and more film photography enthusiasts are buying at-home darkroom equipment,  Photographique, located in Deep Ellum, develops your prints for you at a reasonable price.

Pinball machines like this Monster Bash one at Freeplay Denton give dads a chance to relive their youth.
Pinball machines like this Monster Bash one at Freeplay Denton give dads a chance to relive their youth.
Daniel Rodrigue

The Dad Who Loves Video Games

Freeplay (Richardson, Arlington and Denton)

Plenty of dads who are now in their 40s spent as much of their allowances as they could each week playing PacMan, Galaga and Street Fighter, among others, when they were kids. While their parents went to the mall, a whole generation of young boys would race to the arcade, pumping fistfuls of quarters into the coin slot and spending hours battling bosses, saving princesses and running from ghosts. Rather than weighing pockets down with change, Freeplay does just what the name suggests: allows dad to play as many games as he wants without going broke. All games are set to free play, and it only costs a few bucks to get in the door. The three locations throughout North Texas also offer an extensive selection of craft beer (the Richardson location also offers food). Each location’s entry fees range from $6 to $11.

The Dad Who’s as Cool as His Teenager

The Laboratory DTX

Every parent needs support, including for their feet. And whether the dad in your life is chasing his toddler, mowing the lawn or on his feet all day working, he needs some cushion-y kicks. For sneakers that will make his teenager jealous, The Laboratory DTX has all kinds of cool styles from limited edition Converse to the latest Nikes to skateboarding brands like Vans. This premier shoe boutique located at Mockingbird Station also sells screen-printed T-shirts.

New and used vinyl records line the shelves at Recycled Books, Records and CDs in Denton.EXPAND
New and used vinyl records line the shelves at Recycled Books, Records and CDs in Denton.
Diamond Rodrigue

The Dad Who Laments the “Good Ol' Days”

Josey Records
Recycled Books, Records and CDs

Dads love to talk about how music used to be better in the good ol' days – it comes with the territory, just like the worn-out New Balance sneakers he’s had for years and the dad jokes that only get worse (better) after a few beers. Let him reminisce about  the good ol' days of sneaking into clubs in Deep Ellum to hear his favorite band with a gift card to any of the area’s great record stores. He’ll find rare and current recordings on vinyl or CD, be able to replace his favorite band T-shirt or pick up a record player at Josey Records in Dallas. Recycled Books, Records and CDs in Denton offers a great selection of new and used vinyl and an extensive collection of books on music.

The Dad Who Needs a Drink

Homebrew HQ

Most parents look forward to consuming some sort of adult beverage once the kiddos finally hit the sack. After a long day of chasing the little ones around, let the dad in your life enjoy the solitude and tranquility (and buzz) of brewing their own beer at home. Homebrew HQ has a knowledgeable staff to educate dad on its quality ingredients, books, kits and equipment for making beer, as well as wine, liquor, soda and cheese.

The Dallas Brew Bus makes a stop at Peticolas Brewery.EXPAND
The Dallas Brew Bus makes a stop at Peticolas Brewery.
Kelsey Shoemaker

The Dad Who Needs Another Drink

Dallas Brew Bus

For the dads who prefer expertly crafted local beer, the Dallas Brew Bus’ Father’s Day tour on Saturday, June 15 will come as a boozy delight. Tickle his taste buds with a bus tour visiting Outfit Brewing, Turning Point Beer and Peticolas Brewing Company. During the three stops, he’ll enjoy food courtesy of LUCK – a Trinity Groves gastro pub serving Southern comfort food – a souvenir glass and a customized taster card. The tour runs $60 per person with a 25-person minimum. Private tours are available. Visit dallasbrewbus.com for more information.

The Dad with an Axe to Grind, er, Throw

Bad Axe Throwing

You’d be forgiven for assuming that alcohol consumption and axe throwing would be a recipe for disaster. But at Bad Axe Throwing, it’s safe, and encouraged. Dad will let off some steam when given this unique gift, and he can even join one of the venue’s leagues if one night of throwing a powerful axe against a wall just isn’t enough. The Dallas location offers a large selection of local craft beers and brand-name beers too, but he can also bring along his own food and drinks. Bad Axe Throwing does have some time allotted for walk-ins, but you’ll need to check its website at badaxethrowing.com, or you can book a whole party ahead of time. Hourly rates start at $20.

The Dad Who Wants to Go Wild

iFly Dallas

Skydiving at this indoor venue gives Dad the gift of flight. This may not be the right gift for every dad, but for those who catch a wild hair once in a while, iFly Dallas will give him something to talk about for years to come. He’ll experience what it’s like to free fall with the help of the venue’s wind tunnel. iFly Dallas flight package rates range from about $80 to $340 and can include groups up to five. Virtual Reality flights are also available. Visit iflyworld.com for more information.

The Dad Who Still Reads

Wild Detectives

For the literary dad, Wild Detectives in Oak Cliff can be a great escape from the distractions of fatherhood. This quaint little bookstore doubles as a coffee shop and bar and hosts special events, including readings and music, fairly often. Let Dad venture into the pages of his favorite book, or help him find a new favorite. There’s a back patio and cozy chairs inside. Dad can’t find the book he wants at the store? Visit thewilddetectives.com to special order any book (and pick up a free beer in doing so the next time he stops by) and learn about new releases and upcoming events.

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