Holiday Gift Guide for Him

Originally published November 2015

When you want to celebrate your guy — whether he’s your dad, significant other, son, or pal — you’ve got plenty of local spots at your BARTable feet to help you find just the right thing. Books for your literary guy, threads for your fashion hound, or board games for your lighthearted competitor? The Bay Area serves up an eclectic mix of authentic items to fit your gift recipient’s pastimes and professional pursuits. He’ll thank you for hunting down that which shows how well you know him.

826 Valencia

826 Valencia

826 Valencia, located at (where else?) 826 Valencia St. in San Francisco, is a 10-minute walk from 16th St. Mission Station. 

Feel really good about finding that ultra unique gift when you shop at the renowned 826 Valencia nonprofit’s shop, known as “San Francisco’s only independent Pirate Supply Store.” While 826 Valencia is dedicated to enhancing local under-resourced students’ writing skills, its quirky retail spot will help your man enhance his collection of conversation-starting belongings. We recommend the limited edition Captain’s Log journal for your reflective deep thinker, or a cute Message in a Bottle that you can personalize with your own thoughtful love note. (Really, who wouldn’t want to receive a message in a bottle?)

Games of Berkeley

Games of Berkeley

Games of Berkeley, located at 2151 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, is a 1-minute walk from Downtown Berkeley Station.

This is the historic place that’s been helping shoppers put the puzzle pieces together for 35 years. Pretty much every guy, no matter the age, likes games. Feed his fun-loving boyish side with a board game, puzzle, darts, or cards; there are no rules when it comes to giving the gift of more good times. We recommend the Bay Area-devised “Locally Grown Games” selection, which includes the tongue-in-cheek Hungry Hungry Hipsters cards or the insightful California Water Crisis board game.

Dog Eared Books


Dog Eared Books, located at 900 Valencia St. in San Francisco, is a 10-minute walk from 24th St. Mission Station.

It’s that place where Mission District concertgoers go before a show or after dinner (when not drinking), passing the time perusing shelves of new and used books, mags, cards, and journals. Grab a stellar piece of local lit or that mainstream Murakami bestseller he’s been fiending to reread. And don’t forget to pair your selected Dog Eared pages with a colorful $2 magnet.

Econo Jam Records

Econo Jam Records

Econo Jam Records, located at 2519 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, is a 9-minute walk from 19th St./Oakland Station.

Cozy but chock-full of new and used albums, this tasty little nugget of a music hub in Oakland harbors plenty of experimental and mainstream sounds for any audiophile. Give your guy the gift of a new 2016 playlist. In addition to tunes, Econo Jam Records offers your favorite DJ turntables to play around with. When those iPhone and iPod fingers want to spin vinyl or pop in a cassette (remember those?), Econo is your jam. 

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