Migration Brewing’s Stadium District Rooftop Taproom Has Returned

The seasonal project, which has one of the best views in town, was revived following last year’s pause.

Migration Brewing at Canvas. (Brian Burk)

Migration Brewing is back on top…of the Canvas building, that is.

The brand’s taproom on the ninth floor of the Urban Renaissance Group’s structure at 817 SW 17th Ave. reopened July 13, a somewhat surprising turn of events since the seasonal project was not revived last year.

Migration originally launched a beer bar on the sky-skimming space in 2020. It was perfect timing as people began to seek out bars and restaurants with outdoor seating as a way to escape home for a few hours in a pre-vaccine world. The arrangement was also helpful for Urban Renaissance since the office building had been completed that spring, a period when work was going remote and square footage for office dwellers was anything but in demand.

Were it not for COVID-19, the average person would never have gotten to ascend to the top of the Canvas building, which is located where one of The Oregonian’s cavernous printing press warehouses used to be, right across from the Timbers and Thorns’ home pitch. Rooftop soirees were supposed to be a perk for office tenants. Beer drinking was going to be relegated to the ground level, where Migration had planned to open a full-service pub. The 10-year-old company suddenly flipped floors after co-founder McKean Banzer-Lausberg had a late-night conversation with the developer/property manager.

“The community needs more outdoor space right now,” Travis Drilling, regional leasing manager for the Urban Renaissance Group, said in 2020. “This will bring more attention to the building, so let’s do this rooftop. Let’s take this amenity space and open it to the public.”

Migration joins shoe design company Hoka in the Canvas building.

“We’re excited to get the Rooftop back in action. This will be our third summer at the Canvas building, and it’s always been one of our most popular pop-up projects,” CEO and Migration co-founder McKean Banzer-Lausberg stated in a press release. “As a company, we really value local partnerships and have always enjoyed working with Urban Renaissance Group. This will be a truly unique craft beer experience.”

The 2,000-square-foot, mostly outdoor space serves draft and packaged beer, though you may be too distracted by the view, initially, to take your first sip. Since the building is practically nestled in the West Hills, the deck offers a different perspective of the city than other bars and restaurants. You can see past the Montgomery Park Building to shipping cranes lining the Willamette River and the prominent arch of the Fremont Bridge. There’s also a view of downtown’s mixture of high rises and familiar skyscrapers that resemble a jagged range. A trio of real mountains rises beyond that: St. Helens, Adams and Hood.

The rooftop is open 2 to 10 pm Thursday through Sunday through September.

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