Ok, so Bibis is really weird. Its website promises “luxurious surroundings, cutting edge cocktails and the best in live music tribute acts,” so we were intrigued to visit and see what it actually has to offer. What we found was the only bar/restaurant in Leeds that feels exactly like a cruise ship. From the ambience to the clientele to the bar staff to the cocktail menu, Bibis is the place where everyone from the lower and the upper decks comes together for some pre-packaged fun in between ports.
Established in 1974, Bibis chose a garish 1930s style and never looked back. It’s absolutely massive, just like a cruise ship, and art deco motifs dominate (along with a few palm trees scattered about). We saw people in sparkly cocktail dresses and also in jeans and trainers, so it seems to be a come-as-you-are joint.
The crown jewel of the week is Wednesday night when they have their shows. For £26 you can get a 2-course meal and be dazzled by live acts and impersonators from classics like The Cheatles to contemporary tributes like Kings ov Leon. We decided not to shell out that kind of dosh for the sake of the quest, but there’s a large bar near the entrance, and people are certainly encouraged to have a few drinks even if they’re not staying for dinner.
The beer selection is OK at best. We were happy to see a couple of bottled ales from Ilkley plus Peroni Gran Riserva. The only decent draught offering was Birra Moretti and they can surge a can of Guinness for you if you like. Their single malt selection caught Rich’s eye, including Bowmore 17yo (his favourite!) and their true focus is fancy cocktails. Prices are a bit high, with bottles of beer at £4/£4.50 and cocktails in the £8 range, but what do you expect on a cruise ship?
There was a Motown act on the night we went, and they were definitely entertaining. We would come back here if there was someone performing that we really wanted to see (Fleetwood Bac, anyone?); we just wouldn’t come here specifically for the beer. But you know, when you’re out at sea you can’t really be picky.