A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 Sneaky Ways to Open a Beer Without a Bottle Opener

Updated: Jan. 06, 2023

Sometimes a bottle opener just isn't there when you need it. Never fear: with a firm grip and a basic understanding of physics, there is no bottle you can't open.

1 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Lever a lighter between the cap and your hand

This college party trick is more academic than it looks, bro: to get it to work properly, you are essentially creating a lever out of the lighter, using your knuckle as the fulcrum. Grip the neck of the bottle with your non-dominant hand, leaving a lighter’s-width of space between your top finger and the beer cap. Lay the broad side of the lighter against the largest knuckle of your top finger, with the lighter’s butt resting just under the cap. Apply downward force to the free end of the lighter, levering the other end upward against the cap. It should pop off in seconds. Once you master the mechanics of this lever trick, you can use pretty much any object as a stand-in for the lighter, including…

2 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Lever a spoon between the cap and your hand

Using the same lever physics as the lighter method, you can almost effortlessly pop a cap with a common kitchen spoon (and not have to rely on the kindness of smokers to do it). Grip the bottle tightly with your non-dominant hand as explained above, then lay the curved side of the spoon against your largest knuckle, wedging the spoon’s small tip under the cap. Press downward on the spoon handle to lever the cap off lickety-split.

3 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Use a fork to pry up the cap’s teeth one groove at a time

Setting the lever physics aside, we turn to a new beer-opening discipline: prying those stupid teeth up one by one. The ideal tool for this operation is a small, pointy piece of metal, like the tines of a fork or a flat-head screwdriver. In this case, stick the tines firmly under the lip of the bottle cap, and pry that section up. Move the tines to an adjacent section and pry that up too. Repeat until you have enough room to jimmy the fork under the cap and flip it completely off.

4 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Use a staple remover to pry up the cap’s teeth one section at a time

On those rare days when you have both a beer and staple remover on hand (but no bottle opener), this trick is a life-saver. (We’re not encouraging workplace drinking here, but we’re not judging you either.) Clamp the teeth of a common office staple remover down on either side of the cap, making sure one set of teeth is firmly under the cap. Keeping the teeth clamped tightly, pry upward against the cap. You may have to loosen a few sections of the cap in this manner before you can pop the whole thing off.

5 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Wedge a nail clipper under the cap, clamp it down and pull upward

Similar to the staple remover method described above, clamp a common nail-clipper against the edge of a bottle cap and pry upward one section at a time. Work your way around the rim until you hear the seal break, then pry the cap free.

6 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Turn a hammer upside-down and use the forked end to pull the cap of

A household hammer gives you several options for opening a bottle. As seen here, you can turn the hammer sideways to pry the cap’s teeth up one by one as we did with our fork and staple remover. If you’re a little bolder, you can turn the hammer upside down and give the forked end a mighty pull against the cap, taking it off in one fell swoop. Or, if you are truly desperate, you can smash the bottle to bits in your sink and strain the beer through a sieve. This method is not recommended.

7 / 7
Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Use a rubber band to enhance your grip and twist it off

So it’s come to this. With no way to create a lever or raise your cap’s teeth, wrap a rubber band (the thicker, the better) around the circumference of the cap until tall the teeth are covered. Gripping tightly around the rubber band, twist as hard as you can. If the cap is giving you nothing, wrap a cloth around the apparatus and try twisting again. Cheers.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest