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9 genius ways to open a beer bottle

If you don't have a bottle opener on hand, fear not. There are dozens of items lying around your house that you can use to pop that crown cap off your bottle.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

So you've gone camping and planned to drink a few beers with your friends over the weekend. Or maybe you grabbed a bottle of cold brew coffee on your way to work. Either way, what do you do when you're ready to drink and you realize you don't have a bottle opener?

Not having a bottle opener may be a party foul, but it isn't the end of the world. There are plenty of things around you right now that you can use to open a bottle.

Here's how to get that stubborn cap off when you don't have an opener on hand.

Removing a cap without a bottle opener

For starters, there is no standard shape or size to a bottle opener. The bottle openers you see in bars often come with large handles for quick opening, but you also see tiny openers built into keychains for convenience. Just remember, when trying to open a bottle, your best friend is leverage.

So long as you have something nearby that is sturdy (most likely metal), you can easily grip and has an edge to it, you can probably use it to remove the cap from your bottle. Just place the edge of the object under the lip of the crown cap and pry away slowly. It's almost always going to take more time and effort than a device that was designed specifically to open bottles, but it's not rocket science. Work your way around the cap as you pry, and the cap will eventually release.

Household items that work

Around the house, you can find several objects that will work for opening a glass bottle. Here are some tried and true methods that work really well:

  • A house key will certainly work. It's typically thin enough to place under the lip of the crown cap, but it works best if you leave it on your key chain, as the other items attached to your keys will give you more to grip. You will have to work at it for a minute, but the cap will come lose.
  • Scissors are usually made of steel and come with handles, which provides grip and leverage. But they're also sharpened, so be careful not to cut or slice your finger as you pry the cap off the bottle.
  • If you're at someone's house, chances are there is at least one spoon around. It may take some practicing to get the grip just right. Try gripping the neck of the bottle (as close to the cap as you can get) with your non-dominant hand. Position the spoon under the lip of the cap and, using the base of your thumb as leverage, pry the cap loose.
  • A fork also works pretty well. It's usually easier to get it inside the grooves of the cap, and you can pry it loose with less force by using an individual prong of the fork.
  • The very tip of a butter knife can be used to bend just a small section of the cap away from the bottle. Then position the tip of the knife under the lip, so that it's between the cap and the glass rim. In a careful and swift motion, tap the handle of the knife on the counter to pop off the cap.
  • A flathead screwdriver works just as well with the same general instructions. Position the screwdriver head underneath the lip of the cap and use the leverage to pry it loose. You can also tap the handle of the screwdriver on a countertop to pop the lid off.
  • Smartphone and tablet chargers have been used to open bottles, as well. Position one of the two prongs from the wall plug end under the cap and pry upwards. This method will take more work than others, but who doesn't always have a charger on them?
  • A MacBook or iPad charger can be used very much like an actual bottle opener. The circular crown that holds the two-prong adapter or extension cord in place is shaped in a way that it can be used to remove a cap. Just be careful, as the plastic has been known to crack, and it's usually cheaper to just buy a bottle opener than to replace a charger. It's probably a better idea to explore other options before resorting to this one.
  • A claw hammer can also be used. Flip it upside down and position the claw end (now facing upwards) under the lip. Use the extra leverage to peel away the cap.
  • Have a lighter? By gripping the bottle neck with your non-dominant hand and positioning it over your index finger knuckle and under the rim of the cap, you can use the leverage to easily remove the bottle cap. With some practice, you can send the cap flying using nothing but a lighter.