By John Dodge

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Looking for a gift for a guy that doesn’t involve anything with bacon flavor or sports?

I have never understood the allure of the bacon flavor fad, although it seems to be fading, thankfully.

READ MORE: Man Shot Dead In Brainerd Neighborhood

I simply cannot imagine the allure of a bacon bandage.

Or bacon shaving cream.

Or bacon lip balm.

As for sports memorabilia, there is nothing wrong with scoring a retro Blackhawks sweater, Bears cap or Joakim Noah jersey.

However, if the guy in your life is looking for something a little different, here are some thoughts that might help make the season a little brighter:



The elegant, yet casual, retro-styling of Shinola watches also have the added benefit of being assembled by hand at the company’s headquarters in Detroit.

The company also sells unique, high quality leather goods, such has backpacks, wallets and phone cases, in tandem with Chicago’s Horween Leather Company. Also, check out their Supply section, with a variety of high quality curated items.

Shinola will soon open a Chicago store, which will also sell some items unique to the city. A Shinola rep says the store will be opening any day now as it awaits on some final city inspections.

However, in the meantime, their watches–which cost between $500 to $1,500–are available online and at major retailers, such as Nordstrom.

Coolest Cooler

Coolest With Blender

For the guy who is the life of the party, there is the Coolest Cooler.

It won’t be ready for Christmas. The Coolest became the most successful fund-raiser on Kickstarter, and new customers can be placed on a wait list.

READ MORE: Shots Fired At Police In North Austin

However, summer is months away and tailgating season is even further down the road.

Here is what one gets with the Coolest:

A chargeable blender that sits on top of the cooler and can mix up margaritas or smoothies. Inside, there is a divider that allows users to store only ice for the blender on one side with room for beverages on the other. The divider also doubles as a cutting board.

The cooler also comes with a waterproof speaker that can play music via Bluetooth, a USB charging station and storage for a few plates and utensils.

Growl Tap

Growl Tap

Craft beer in Chicago has exploded in recent years.

Many drinkers have been reluctant to purchase a full growler of their favorite beer because it can be difficult to keep the beer fresh for more than a few days.

The Growl Tap is designed to change that by using Co2 to keep the beer ready for a month or more.

For $45, customers get a GrowlTap, a Co2 dispenser, and a food grade disposable food grade Co2 canister. The device works with any standard growler that is typically available at any craft brew pub.

Wildsam Field Guides

(Credit: Wildsam)

(Credit: Wildsam)

For the man who likes to travel and would prefer a “deep dive” into their destination, I recommend the Wildsam Field Guides.

The man behind Wildsam is veteran travel writer Taylor Bruce, who has published five field guides ($17.95 each) for Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco, Austin and Nashville.

A Chicago field guide is in the works for 2015.

MORE NEWS: Ed's Driveway: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Readers of these guides are treated to a glorious immersion into the city before they arrive. They are transported into the heart, the hum and the humanity of a city’s people and places.