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What to do in Stratford when you see the Rocky Horror Show

By Keith Tomasek, July 6, 2018

If you’re on your way to see the Rocky Horror Show at the Stratford Festival you’ll be pleased to learn that Stratford has a sexy side.

Who knew, right?

Many of the merchants are offering unique experiences and products inspired by the hit show. I spent two days strutting around Stratford having a look at all the offerings.

I was hungry when I arrived, so I headed straight for Bards on Market Square.

To celebrate The Rocky Horror show Bard’s has added a Red Lips Martini and an “Eddie Meatloaf Sandwich” to the menu.
Bards, stratford, trip advisor

Eddie Meatloaf Sandwich, Steak and Frites and Bard’s Burger

Ahi Tuna Salad

Let’s be honest, if the thought of eating Eddie makes you cry, and I did, consider the Ahi Tuna Salad with an orange vinaigrette.

Ian Middleton, formerly the senior instructor with the Stratford Chefs School, is the new chef at Bard’s and, to quote Emeril Lagasse: he’s really “kicked it up a notch!”

Bard’s on Market Square
27 Market Place
519 508-2337

From there I went to check out Stratford’s world–famous Sinvention Boutique.

Me and Julie Bell

 Co-owner Julie Bell is a leathersmith who learned the trade from her father, who created custom leather horse tack.

It’s worth a visit; your heart’ll pump and your blood will sing.

The boutique is the best place to get the bustier you forgot to pack for your Rocky Horror Show outfit. You’ll also find some toys for that post-show “thrill me, chill me, fulfill me” action.

Sinvention Boutique
390 Douro Street
Their website is tasteful, but not safe for the workplace, so your boss might not enjoy seeing it. On the other hand, it might be that she doth protest too much ;-).

Nothing goes with leather quite like a tattoo, so I headed over to Small-Mart to sample their excellent selection of TATTLY temporary tattoos.
small-mart , smallmart, stratford festical, tattoos, tattly tattos


 Tattly Tattoos was founded by Tina Roth-Eisenberg, a mother and artist, after her daughter came home from a birthday party with incredibly hideous temporary tattoos.

The Brooklyn-based graphic artist launched the company in 2011 with $15,000 of her own money. Sales are now well over $10 million and Roth-Eisenberg sources as much product as possible in the U.S., and pays artists a royalty.

TATTLY temporary tattoos
As well as the tattoos, you’ll discover a curated selection of eclectic gift items inspired by Stratford’s Rocky Horror Show. The sexy red shoe erasers are flying off the shelves.

Who knew a shoe eraser would be such a hit?

Small-Mart General Mercantile
119 Ontario Street

Just a short walk around the corner is Rocky MTN Chocolate.

Pick up some pure & premium milk chocolate body paint for after the show.

Their “sweet” candy apples are perfect for licking, or maybe a BITE!


Rocky MTN Chocolate
10 Downie Street

A few doors down is the aptly named “Meet Your Maker Gallery and Gift Shop.”
Where else can you see the work of 72 independent artists, many of whom bring an iconoclastic edge to their work.

Along with items like Nihilist Soap, which has no scent, no color and no hope, you’ll find these these hand-knit mice from Nancy Hastings-Trew.
Hastings-Trew worked at the Stratford Festival as a milliner, costume decorator and jeweler.

Meet Your Maker Gallery
62 Wellington

Also on Wellington Street is a fabulous, new restaurant The Common.

Chef Tim Otsuki worked in kitchens around the world with stops in Hong Kong, the Caribbean and Toronto. The flavours on his menu reflect his adventurous spirit.
Chef Tim Otsuki, The common, stratford ontario,

The Charcuterie Board with house made sausage, Ontario cheese, preserves and seed crackers is a great choice for sharing.

The Perth County pork chop with jerk spices and a tantalizing mango salsa was a perfect pre-show meal.
The Common Stratford, stratord festival, trip advisor, restaurants

Perth County pork chop with jerk spices

The Common
80 Wellington St.
(519) 271-0999

It’s a 5 minute walk from The Common to the Avon theatre for The Rocky Horror Show. The show is fabulous and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
I’ve collected all the reviews for you, just hit the button below.

After the show drop in to Okazu located a few steps from the theatre at 85 Downie. It’s the best place for late-night food and drinks. Try the roasted eggplant with tahini, toasted walnuts and dukkah (an Egyptian blend of spices).

I highly reccommend the Mermaid Margarita made with tequila, and a custom blend of blue majik algae, pineapple juice, lime and ginger.

Okazu 85 Downie
85 Downie St.
(519) 305-8585

I stayed overnight at the Queen’s Inn which is a short walk from the theatres and market square. The Boar’s Head pub, on the main floor, is popular with locals, which is always a good sign. Their fabulous Friday afternoon lunch buffet is not to be missed!

My second day began with a walk and breakfast at The Parlour Inn at 101 Wellington St.

The Parlour Inn

I’m a fruit first kinda guy, so the staff kindly replaced the hash browns and toast that comes with an omelette with a refreshing selection of fruit.

the parlour, stratford, trip advisor, breakfast

The parlour, stratford, trip advisor, breakfast
The yogurt parfait with mixed berry compote is a great way to kickstart your morning after a night of pelvic thrusts.

The Parlour Inn
101 Wellington St.
(519) 271-2772

One of Canada’s best new distilleries is located nearby, so I headed to Junction 56 to sample some of their Time Warp Lemon Gin.

This delectable concoction is created by steeping lemon peel in their signature gin, enhancing the citrus flavours, and adding just the right amount of sweetness.

Selection of botanicals in the gin

Their gin is triple distilled in a custom made distiller with a unique mix of botanicals, including fennel seeds and coriander.

Tours run Tuesday-Saturday at 11:00AM until the end of September. For a tour at a different time, contact them in advance and they’ll try to accommodate your request.

Junction 56 Distillery
45 Cambria Street, Stratford

I met up with some friends at The Annex Room Restaurant.

They make a wicked Rocky Horror Show Virgin Cocktail (get it? virgin – like Brad & Janet) with orange juice, lime, grenadine and Sprite – add some rum to maximize the fun. Here’s an insider’s tip: I replaced the Sprite with soda water. It, and the Mermaid Margarita at Okazu, were the best cocktails of the trip!

Rocky Horror Show Virgin Cocktail

Our meals were fabulous. I opted for the Pork belly with Brussel sprouts and Caesar salad. We also sampled the generous Thai crunch salad with shrimp, a chicken Ceasar pizza and the unique Jamaican jerk chicken pizza.

Chef Cameron Jariott studied culinary arts at Niagara College and was the sous chef at Rene’s Bistro prior to taking on his role at The Annex Room.
The Annex Room Restaurant
38 Albert St.
(519) 271-1407

Before my drive home I stopped off at the Emerald Muse, on York Street.

The owner has put together a “Safe Travel Adventuring Kit,” inspired by Brad and Janet’s road trip that begins the Rocky Horror Show.

Emerald Muse is packed with a unique collection of crystals, jewellery, books, ritual candles and tarot cards.
Emerald muse, stratford ontario

I turned up a tarot card and discovered the “Blessed” card that indicates that I’m “in a phase where any difficulties or obstacles that have stymied your success seem to disappear on their own. Be ready to receive. The windows of opportunity will open wide.”

I read it and realized that unlike Brand and Janet, I’m going home fully revitalized!

Emerald Muse
13 York Street

Pick up your “Rocky Horror Show guide to Stratford” with many more things to do at Stratford Tourism, 47 Downie Street, 1 800-561-7926.

As well as visiting the shops above, you’ll find official Rocky Horror Show merchandise at either of the two Stratford Festival shops. One is in the Avon Theatre, the other is across from the Festival Theatre.

Click on an icon on the map below for details about each merchant’s Rocky Horror Show items.

Rocky Horror show, Donna feore podcast, stratford festival, alexis gordon, sean arbuckle


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What to do in Stratford when you see the Rocky Horror Show

Keith Tomasek
6 July 2018
Non-Theatre Fun

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