10 Ways to Open a Bottle When You Don’t Have a Bottle Opener

Whether you're trying to open a beer or other bottle with a pry-off cap, these solutions will save the day and help you quench your thirst.

Is anything more frustrating than being in a situation where the only thing standing between you and a refreshing bottle of beer is a stubborn crown cap—and there's no traditional bottle opener in sight? What if you are enjoying a picnic with friends and realize you forgot to bring a bottle opener to pop the top on that bottle of artisanal sparkling water? Or, you might have a bottle of wine sealed with a crown cap instead of a cork—and if you don't have a bottle opener handy, well, a corkscrew won't help. For moments like these, you need to have strategies for opening a bottle without an opener.

We've compiled the tried-and-true methods recommended by beverage professionals. All use everyday objects you likely already have. These party tricks will save the day when you find yourself without a bottle opener (and make you a very good person to know!). Smart as these techniques are, remember to exercise common sense and caution when trying them.

Meet Our Expert

Related: 5 Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

<p>bhofack2 / GETTY IMAGES</p>

bhofack2 / GETTY IMAGES

Use Everyday Kitchen Flatware

When in doubt, raid the silverware drawer. Here are three clever alternatives to open that stubborn cap:


First, you can grab a fork and slide one of its tines beneath the cap, gently working it back and forth until the cap pops off.


Alternatively, firmly grip the bottle with one hand, positioning your hand as close to the cap as possible. Then, utilize the back of a spoon as a lever to loosen and remove the cap.

Butter Knife

If a spoon is too wide for the bottle, and you're not having success using a fork, try using the tip of a butter knife beneath the cap, and with a bit of leverage, you'll easily pry it off.


There's a saying in the wine industry that it takes a lot of beer to make a great wine, so we turned to a winemaker to get their advice on opening a bottle without using a bottle opener (after all, they're experts!). Leo Braddock, winemaker at Quarky Wines, shares his secret. "I wear a steel fashion ring on my right middle finger. It's a modern, slick piece, and you can also hook the top of a cap underneath the ring and use the leverage of your hand to pop it open easily," he says. "Obviously, listen to your body for pain and notice any discomfort. But I do this all of the time with beer, Pet Nat, bottled water, etc. I'm in the wine industry but drink tons of water and love a cold beer (particularly with amazing tacos)."

Several other wine pros agreed—some even use their wedding ring to open a beer bottle.


This method is excellent when you’re hiking or in another environment without access to utensils or tools. It uses an item we all have with us most of the time: a set of keys!

Here's how to do it:

  1. Grasp the beer bottle with your non-dominant hand, and with your other hand, position the longer side of a key under the cap.

  2. Twist the key upward to create some initial looseness in the cap.

  3. Rotate the bottle a little and repeat this twisting action. Continue doing so until the cap is loose enough for you to slide the key's point beneath it, allowing you to release the cap effortlessly and enjoy your drink.

With the right amount of skill, determination, and practice, you can master this technique.

Dollar Bill

Whoever said "cash is king" must have been thinking of this classic party trick. A simple folded bill packs more strength than you might think:

  1. Fold a dollar bill in half vertically, then roll it as tightly as possible.

  2. Fold it in half again, ensuring the bent edge remains sturdy.

  3. With your dominant hand, position the folded edge under the cap and apply upward pressure. This move will effortlessly release the cap (and earn you a round of applause from whomever you're with).

Another Bottle

In this ingenious method, one beer bottle, complete with its cap, moonlights as a bottle opener. Sommelier Nicole Ramirez recommends this method. "Most domestic beer bottles are twist-off, but if you need to open one that isn't, just use another beer bottle," she says. "Hold one beer tight in your dominant hand and take the second bottle upside down in your other hand. Use the upside-down bottle's cap to act as your bottle opener to lift one side up." With a clever application of leverage, you'll effortlessly pop the top off the second bottle, making it a creative—and efficient—way to enjoy your beverage.


If you happen to have a simple lighter within reach, it offers a quick and easy way to open your bottle. "Think crowbar, but using a lighter," says Alisha Muller, beverage director at Black Walnut Farm.

  1. Place the top of the bottle's neck in the nook between the thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand.

  2. In your dominant hand, hold the lighter in your fist. With your thumb facing up on top of the bottom edge of the lighter, place it just under the bottle cap’s edge.

  3. With one swift, firm, downward flick of the wrist, the lighter will provide the leverage needed to pry the bottle cap off.

Muller warns this method might take more than one try, but to stay with it. "This method will be easier around a bonfire, at the end of a long hike, after mowing the lawn, when it"s your second beer, or with good friends," she says.

Household Tools

When you find yourself in need of a bottle opener, turn to your trusty tool chest. With the right tool in hand, like a flathead screwdriver or a claw hammer, you're well on your way to enjoying that bottled IPA.

Flathead Screwdriver

Slide the business end of a flathead screwdriver under the lip of the cap, and with a bit of leverage, twist and turn until the cap begins to loosen and eventually comes off.

Claw Hammer

Turn the claw hammer upside down and position one of the forks beneath the cap. Apply gentle upward pressure to lift the cap, and voila, you'll pop it right open.

What Not to Do

  • It might seem obvious but don't try to use your teeth. "I've seen people attempt this, and you can chip or crack a tooth or cut your mouth badly," says Braddock.

  • With all of our tested methods, it's important to exercise caution, use common sense, and ensure you have a good grip on the bottle before attempting to open it.

Now, you're equipped with the knowledge to open bottles without a bottle opener and ensure a good time at any gathering. 

Read the original article on Martha Stewart.