I did manage to get the stain and one coat of poly on the bar this past weekend. Here are a couple of pics of the progress:
The sun was starting to go down when i took these pictures from my phone, so there's some weird brightness and shadowing going on. I'm planning on finishing up with the poly this weekend, so I'll take some better pictures of the final product once I'm done there. One quick note - I went back and forth on how to do the poly and wanted to minimize any issues with the bar being in place and having vertical surfaces. I ultimately decided to go with the wipe-on poly from Minwax. It was really as was simple as pouring it on a rag and rubbing it in.
I think I also mentioned something earlier about the paint colors, but I never posted on the finalized colors we came up with. Here they are:
The far left and middle colors represent the ceiling above the theater area and the walls in the basement. Both will be a flat finish, and the ceiling will be sprayed on versus rolled. The paint I decided to go with was from the Cashmere line at Sherwin Williams. The lighter color on the far right is for the columns up front. I wanted something that would contrast with the rest of the room and really wanted the columns to be a showpiece on the stage. For that reason, I'm finishing them in either a high gloss or enamel. I know this goes against every theater rule when it comes to light reflection, but I want to make sure they really pop.
Painting takes place the first week of December, so I need to finish with the bar and patch a hole in the ceiling before that happens. Once complete, the next step will be installing the rack, trimming it out, and trimming out the opening where the projector currently sits.