It’s Thursday night in February and, despite the lack of snow outside, Bol, an upscale bar, restaurant, and bowling alley located in Vail Village, is packed. Patrons lounge in comfy leather chairs, watch sports on up to 15 different televisions, and roll down 12-pin alleys fit for the White House. But mostly they eat. They chow on everything from gourmet pizza with speck and figs to grilled calamari to a $90 serving of Kobe ribeye. This new hotspot in Vail is tucked into the eastern corner of Solaris, the development created by Peter Knobel, a former telecommunications executive from Long Island—and it’s only one of the diverse experiences the complex offers. Solaris also includes 900- to 6,500-square-foot luxury condos, a movie theatre with waiters that serve you cocktails and dinner (try the salmon with lemon-whipped potatoes and New York strip steak) during the coming attractions, art galleries, a skating rink, a coffee shop, and Matsuhisa, a five-star Japanese restaurant. It sparkles, it overwhelms—and it was very close to never existing.
Back in 2005, when the project was initially proposed, some town council members, whose votes were necessary to approve the project, feared the massive structure—547,000 square feet—would block the mountain views. But in a November 2007 election, those council members lost their seats to officials who supported Knobel’s project.