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Cruisin’ around in the frigid cold, my best friend and I decided to take a sweet retreat somewhere warm and welcoming. The Cove, located near French and Transit roads in Depew, beckoned to us with a promise of serving up a slice of paradise despite the single-digit temps.

Walking in, I knew we hit the jackpot. Justin Timberlake’s new single, “Suit & Tie,” echoed throughout the spacious restaurant as we cozied up at the bamboo bar. Reveling in the tropical setup, I naturally ordered a rum and coke while Nadia ordered a vodka tea, both of which were included in the happy-hour special.

Directly in front of us was a large fish tank housing several exotic fish, one was electric yellow with black stripes. Two fans with dimmed maroon lights hung from the wickerlike ceiling attached to an awning with dangling grass above us. I felt as though I was on vacation somewhere far, far away from Buffalo.

In the background, I heard a soothing trickle and found a mini-waterfall to the left of the bar accompanied by palm trees and a pink flamingo. Behind the bar was a room primarily designated to serve hungry matey’s interested in the various seafood platters, particularly the popular steam pots ranging from $22 to $48.

Near the mini-waterfall was an abundance of arcade games including Skee Ball, Dance Dance Revolution, NASCAR games and an air hockey table. For a small treasure, you can purchase tokens to play the arcade games to eventually barter for bigger loot at the prize counter. There are also a couple of dart boards for those willing to challenge their friends to some friendly fire.

If games aren’t your cup of rum, there is a large dance floor just beyond the waterfall. Above the dance floor is a silver disco ball that shines a light on the stage where bands play early on Friday and Saturday nights and various DJs spin later on the weekends. The Cove consciously tries to keep weekends cover-charge free, except for special events including concerts by Hit ’N Run.

The Cove offers draft beers such as Magic Hat Seasonal, Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Aviator Red and Labatt ($3.50 to $4.75). Bottled beers include Blue and Bud Light, Rolling Rock, Corona and Bud Light Platinum ($3.75 to $4.50).

But, if you’re like my friend and I, and want something fruitier or more tropic appropriate, try any one of the mixed drinks ($3.75 to $4.25) that include liquors such as Three Olives Loopy, Pinnacle Root Beer and classics like Grey Goose or Absolut.

Still in the mood for something fancier? Check out the wine list that includes riesling, Moscato, pinot noir and red zinfandel, starting at $4.25 a glass.

There is a roomy second floor that often hosts beer blasts and special events, and a formal banquet hall capable of accommodating up to 300 people. An outside patio bar is perfect for summer nights with your friends.

The Cove is unique in that it can serve as a family getaway for the evening, the perfect place to warm up and get down with your girlfriends, or just a chill place to relax with your buddies and enjoy a Sabres game on a freezing Queen City night. No matter what kind of mood you’re in, the Cove is the place to remind you it’s OK to let loose and hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

The Cove

Where: 4701 Transit Road, Depew (656-7946, www.thecoveseafoodandbanquets.com)

Hours: Opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 3 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Happy hour: 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with discounted well drinks, house wines and domestic bottles.

Attire: Hawaiian shirts, sassy skirts or anything comfortable.