Flop it out, Oaktown

Intrepid reporter Justin Juul hits the streets each week for our Meet Your Neighbors series, interviewing the Bay Area folks you’d like to know most.

Mr. Floppy’s Flophouse is a cluster of buildings in East Oakland that has been used throughout the years as a saloon, a venue for underground raves, a brothel, and most recently as a movie set. It also used to be Jack London’s favorite place to get drunk. I wanted to interview George, the crazy guy who owns the place, but he repeatedly denied my request, stating with obvious disgust that he has no desire to “get his name out there.”

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Welcome to Mr. Floppy’s!

Luckily, one his tenants, Sarah Doppler, had no qualms.

Sarah is one of those free-spirited traveler types who pops into a city for a few months, makes a bunch of friends, and then disappears before she gets sucked into their drama. Very smart. The following interview took place in front of a bonfire in Sarah’s backyard.

SFBG: So where are you from, and how did you find yourself living in this weird floppy-house complex thing?

Sarah Doppler: I’m from Seattle, Washington and I moved to the Bay Area about 4 months ago. I needed to find a room so I just answered an ad on Craigslist. It said “Female Artists Wanted: $400.” So I came and checked it out one night. It was really creepy because there are all these pianos and statues and about 50 dark rooms throughout the place. It’s like a maze with weird art and raccoons and this huge backyard by the freeway where I can chill with all my homies.

SFBG: Yeah, dude, I just spent twenty minutes looking for the bathroom and finally had to leave when I accidentally barged in on a film crew and a bunch of vampires eating fried chicken. What’s up with that?

Doppler: Oh man, this place is amazing! There’s that saloon right behind my room; that’s where you were. It’s fully decked out with mahogany and stained glass and it’s been there since the 1880’s. There are pictures of Jack London all over the place and my landlord rents it out to movie studios. They do a lot of horror flicks back there. The vampires have been chillin’ for weeks. I got drunk with them last night.

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Sarah Doppler, flopper.