A handy guide for making sure your dad has an optimal Father’s Day

We know what you’re thinking. What do you possibly get a certain someone who wants everything and has nothing? Wait, that’s not right. Never mind.

Father’s Day is just around the corner and the fact that you’re reading this suggests you’re looking for inspiration. The good news is you’re in the right place. Take a seat, you’re on the way to becoming the best offspring ever.

With the help of foolproof tropes, expert guesswork and a handy one-fits-all category at the end so no dad or dad figure is left behind, we’ve put together the ultimate "choose your own dadventure" for helping you navigate the minefield that is choosing what to get your old man for Father’s Day 2021.

Read our guide to identify your dad type (sporty dad? foodie dad? old fashioned dad?) and find the perfect gift. You're welcome.

Sporty Dad

Tell-tale signs: obsessed with the colours red or blue but not both. Gets especially excited at the end of January and August, something about deadlines. Watches Sky Sports News obsessively throughout the day. Dabbles in playing but unfortunate injuries led to early retirement from potentially lucrative golf, darts and snooker careers. Fiercely competitive nonetheless. Not afraid to show other dads up at school sports day. Last egg and spoon race a bit fraught.

Where to go: there’s plenty of competitive sports-themed bars to take him to for letting off a bit of dad steam including Flight Club, Whistle Punks Axe Throwing and Junkyard Golf. Both Old Trafford and The Etihad offer stadium tours or for an educational experience, The National Football Museum has just launched a host of new exhibitions including the English Football Hall of Fame. You can always pack him off to The Belfry too if he swings that way.

What to get: if your sporty dad has been especially good this year treat him to a Euro 2020 package in The Vault of the Stock Exchange Hotel. With six screens and food by Tom Kerridge’s The Bull & Bear, it’s one of the more exclusive ways to watch the football this summer. Sign up for Rugby League World Cup tickets too. The tournament comes to Manchester in October and tickets will be on sale soon. If you can get in there quickly, Classic Football Shirts and Uber Eats have teamed up for a limited-edition pitch-scented candle, available to buy on the Uber Eats app.

Boozy Dad

Tell-tale signs: self-confessed king of the scoops. Risen above supermarket lager over recent years and now firmly in the craft camp. Always threatened to try home brewing but never got round to it. Keeps a selection of spirits in a designated cabinet or cupboard. Excited by different types of bitters. Don’t get him started on wine. How much time have you got? Frequently uses the term: dram.

Where to go: for an impressive craft beer selection, the newly opened Society near Bridgewater Hall has a whopping 40 craft taps on offer. Salut around the corner from St Peter’s Square is a great spot for a glass of wine with tasting flight options available and a shop that's always fun to peruse when half cut. For classy cocktails consider Hawksmoor, Schofield’s Bar or Dakota.

What to get: Beer 52 is always a welcome treat through the door for craft beer-loving dads and for similar postal delights Prezzy Box and Spirits Kiosk are options. Drop-in at Isca, Reserve or Le Social for helpful staff and great wine. You might even be able to nudge him towards something natural. For spirits, Tipples on Lloyd Street is a hidden gem.  

Music Dad

Tell-tale signs: lives in band t-shirts. Always stops to give MOJO magazine the once over in Tesco. Jumps on any reference to a band or solo artist in conversation responding with a city, year and “great gig, that.” Any visit to town corresponds with a quick dip into Piccadilly Records. Would watch the Hootenanny year-round. “Vinyl isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle kiddo.” Number 201943 in the queue for pre-sale, still manages to bag the tickets every time.

Where to go: straight off the bat, get some tickets to Use Hearing Protection at the Science & Industry Museum which explores the early years of Factory Records. There’s also plenty of exciting gigs to be booked at The Blues Kitchen and Sunday means ribs day with family-style sharing platters. No doubt Hard Rock Café will float many a dad boat too.

What to get: Go get him some records. Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Resting Place, Eastern Bloc, King Bee and Deco Records are all fertile crate-digging spots. Music dads might also appreciate MIF tickets this year with Damon Albarn, the Laurent Garnier doc screening and of course Patti Smith some of the big names. For the classical side of things, The Halle summer season will be a sight and sound to behold with Father's Day sandwiched between performances of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and The Best of the West End.

Outdoors Dad

Tell-tale signs: enjoys pottering about in the garden. Comments on the freshness of the air when south of Wythenshawe and north of Oldham. Sometimes the dog doesn’t want to go for a walk but takes pity on him. Ray Mears > Bear Grylls. Wouldn’t self-identify as a twitcher but visibly excitable when birds appear in public. Friend to plants, foe to littering. Enjoys riding a bike.

Where to go: consider RHS Bridgewater membership for year-round access and perks. Without a ticket you can still visit the excellent on-site garden centre and have a coffee and cake on the pond-side veranda but expect it to be busy when the sun’s out. Northern Roots in Oldham is a welcome escape from the city too with an urban farm and eco-park perfect for roaming in. Platt Fields Market Garden is also a Sunday crowd-pleaser with plenty of spots to sit and enjoy tea and a cake.

What to get: Bud garden centre in Burnage, The Bud and Pot’s pop-up in the Northern Quarter and Flourish on Tib Street are all places to buy your dad quality plants. The aforementioned Platt Fields Market Garden and The Landing in Stockport offer workshops if he fancies getting crafty outside and Discover The Wild offers a range of foraging events around the North West including fungi masterclasses and edible hedgerow tours.

Hip Dad

Tell-tale signs: owns more than one tote bag. Wears translucent acrylic framed glasses. Very particular about his things. Gutted Oi Polloi sold out to JD Sport. “Don’t bring that instant stuff into my house, we’re a pour-over family”. Always quick to wipe away craft beer foam from his moustache. Doesn’t wear a beanie for its thermal properties. Sustainable toilet roll subscriber.

Where to go: take hip dad for a selfie and a flat white at Mule, Trove and/or Takk. He’ll appreciate the effortless cool of one-syllable names, although we’re sure he’ll stretch to two for Pollen. Further afield we’d recommended The Old Cobbler’s Shop in Greenfield for some selective perusing. They sell natural wine and surprisingly good socks and it’s a welcome trip out. Beermoth is always good for whetting hip whistles. A reminder that Carhartt, Piccadilly Records and Ace & Tate remain on the same Oldham Street stretch, not to mention the new Fred Perry store that's just opened underneath Afflecks. Treat him to a booking at District where drinks on the menu are referred to as "liquids".

What to get: everywhere does a tote bag, so take your pick. Coffee specialists 200 Degrees will be announcing further details of their barista courses soon and they’re worth it for the coffee purist in your life ranging from pour-over tutorials to industry-level masterclasses. Local illustrator Stanley Chow, who did that Andy Burnham poster, also has some colourful and romantic graphic odes to Manchester.

Foodie Dad

Tell-tale signs: briefly pondered a business model of looking after people’s sourdough starters when they go on holiday but the pandemic scuppered plans. Owns a library of cookbooks. “No such thing as a pinch of seasoning.” Ears prick up at the mention of a new tasting menu. RIP Bourdain. Flicks through the TV channels until Rick Stein comes on. List of places to try in his notes app. Owns and occasionally uses a spiraliser.

Where to go: where do we start? Our restaurant review section is a cornucopia of inspiration but for the fancy foodie stuff you’ll have to be quick. Street Urchin, Mana, The French and Six By Nico offer variety for differing palates. Likewise, Mackie Mayor is always dependable for a drop-in and Escape to Freight Island also has enough covers to allow for last-minute bookings.

What to get: pasta-making classes at The Pasta Factory is what the dad in us would want. Hawksmoor vouchers or one of their cook-at-home food boxes also. Decent Drop does a special Father’s Day box which includes three bottles of wine, cheese and other goodies. There are also monthly cheese and wine subscriptions. For a slightly out-of-the-box foodie idea consider Honest Toil’s beautiful artisanal olive oil boxes (as used at Erst) or Nordic Muse’s lovely homeware sets. Elevate foodie papa’s carbonara with a few tastefully chosen plates.

Fashion Dad

Tell-tale signs: been wearing wider trouser silhouettes for a while now. Bit of a sneakerhead. The only person allowed to use the iron. Annoying that your mates think he’s cool. New overshirt but don’t tell your mum. Only uses wooden hangers. Skincare regimen and swears by SPF. Made a bomb on Depop recently. Always the best-dressed at parents' evening. Fighting back the urge to borrow his clothes.

Where to go: listen, fashion dad’s not curating all of these garms so that he can wear them at home. Let the man strut. Park him up on Cutting Room Square at either Rudy’s or Seven Brothers and let Ancoats ogle. For a spot of shopping take him to Doherty Evans & Stott for classic tailored looks or Oi Polloi for more contemporary fashions. Let him march the family up and down the escalators in Selfridges with a stop-off for lunch or dinner at San Carlo. Dooley & Rostron’s new King Street tailoring store has a wonderful little coffee counter that’s also worth a visit.  

What to get: with fashion and food in mind there’s some excellent merch out there that might make foodie dad jealous. Sugo, Fat Tony’s Lasagnaria, Siop Shop, Bundobust and Federal are just a few aesthetically pleasing designers that come to mind. Manchester brand Uskees, who also make the uniforms for General Stores, has a nice line in overshirts and jackets. Great for a gift.

Fitness Dad

Tell-tale signs: been through three generations of Fitbit. Sent you a follow request on Strava. Your mates saw him at Crossfit and described him as “a bit of a beast”. Lover of expensive sportswear. Partial to a brightly coloured blender concoction. Slimline tonic every time. Calves like melons stuffed down socks. Always stays hydrated. Wearer of Lycra.

Where to go: The Remedy Kitchen is a restaurant and health food emporium that will appeal to clean-eating dads whether it’s bulking or cutting season. As well as lunch and dinner menus, they also have a line in meal prep plans if he’s trying for extended gains. Ultimate Performance Fitness, Form, Fitism and Neon near Altrincham are a few luxe gym brands to consider if you’re treating him to a membership.

What to get: why not book him into a class with a difference? Yoga at Hatch under the Mancunian Way, yoga at Cloud 23 (not advisable if he doesn’t do heights) and the STR1KE boxercise class at V1BE Fitness on Dale Street are all enjoyable spins on beneficial fitness classes. For a bit of post-calorie burning rest and relaxation book him into Sarasin Spa round the corner from Stevenson Square for a range of massage treatments that’ll do wonders on well-worked muscles.

Old-Fashioned Dad

Tell-tale signs: “bloody woke BBC”. CAMRA member from the beginning. Cask > craft. Big fan of roast dinners. Hater of shopping. Pie fiend. Stands by his belief that pizza is a fad. Prefers staying in the suburbs because town is too busy. Enjoys walking if it coincides with a trip to a JW Lees pub. Bottle of Scotch in the cupboard for special occasions. Likes things with engines.

Where to go: release his inner Fred Dibnah at the East Lancashire Railway. Select steam and diesel services run between Heywood and Rawtenstall with stop-offs along the way in Bury, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale. At least one solid cask ale pub in each. Peveril of the Peak and The Marble Arch in town are always dad-pleasers, reminding him of the days when pubs only did mild and bitter. The Albion Farm shop in Delph sits among beautiful surroundings and has a great pie offering. 

What to get: for a cask-minded subscription, Best of British Beer does plenty of brown bottle ale for an alternative to the fizzier craft stuff. The award-winning Great North Pie Co has an online shop that’ll put a smile on his face and they’re also at Altrincham Market Tuesday to Sunday if you want to pick something up in person.  

One-Size-Fits-All Dad

Tell-tale signs: doesn’t fit into the above. 

What to get: socks. 

Follow Davey Brett on instagram and twitter: @dbretteats

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