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How to Open a Beer Bottle Without a Bottle Opener

In our series, (Un)Preparedness Hacks 101, we walk you through the beer, liquor and wine-related circumstances that come up in the course of drinking.

A man trying to open a bottle of beer with his thumb because he doesn't have a bottle opener
We absolutely do not recommend that you open any bottle with your thumb.

Bottles are surprisingly easy to open with everyday household items, some of which you may not have even known were useful - you know, wooden spoons, house keys, that saber on the wall, stuff you can buy on Amazon. While you may think that a bottle opener is the only way, you'd be surprised to find just how many other ways there are. Same goes for opening wine without a corkscrew.

Don't worry. We won't tell anyone that you didn't use a bottle opener! Here are several different methods for opening a bottle of beer without a bottle opener, cause everyone needs a good party trick.

Table of Contents

Screwdriver Method

A screwdriver can be a very effective tool for opening a bottle. Not only is it easy to find, but you probably even already have one on your person! Be careful with this method, though, as the sharp edge of the screwdriver may scratch or chip your glass.

A better option if you have one is to use a flathead screwdriver rather than a Phillips's head. This type is easier to get under lids and tends not to scratch up bottles. To prevent any problems, try placing a towel over the lid's seal while prying it off slowly with your screwdriver if there is any excess pressure that needs releasing.

Corkscrew Method

Many people may already have a corkscrew available. After all, who doesn't like to partake in wine with dinner? If you find yourself without an opener but still need the contents of your bottle, try using a corkscrew.

As long as the corkscrew is designed for removing wine corks, you should be good to go. It's quick, easy, and doesn't have the same danger of scratching or chipping your bottle that a screwdriver can pose.

Belt Buckle

If you're in a pinch and all you have available is your belt buckle, you can also use it to open bottles. Buckles are not recommended for use on glass bottles, though. Remember, this method will likely end up scratching the bottle rather than opening it properly! Be sure that no sharp edges are sticking out from your buckle before attempting this method.

The main issue with this method is getting enough leverage to remove the lid, so try placing your fingers over the top of the cork while prying off the seal by pushing down with your belt buckle. If you still have issues, try taping a thin piece of metal to the bottom side of your belt buckle. Be careful not to scratch or chip anything.

Some belt buckles are designed explicitly with a bottle opener, so it would probably work exceptionally well and cause the least amount of damage to your bottle if you can find one like that.


If you're at home in your kitchen and can't find your bottle opener, try using your countertop. It's a sturdy surface and can be used as leverage to twist off the lid of your bottle. Push down on the bottom of the cap and twist.

If you encounter any resistance, stop immediately. If you continue to force it, you may end up breaking the glass. Don't use a wood countertop or you could risk scratching the wood surface.

Dollar Bill Method

If you have a dollar bill on hand, it can come in very handy for opening a bottle. Start by folding your dollar bill in half lengthwise and then again width-wise until you're left with a long thin strip of money.

Next, place one end of the bill into the neck of your bottle and start wrapping the paper around it. Finally, you should be able to find just enough grip between your dollar bill and the neck of the bottle to pop off your cap if you get enough leverage and the fulcrum is right.

Bike Pump

Some bike pumps can be used to open your bottle if you're in a pinch. Be very careful with this method, though, especially with glass bottles. Too much pressure can cause the glass to shatter!

Instead, start by using pliers to remove the head of the pump. Keep in mind that there will most likely be some residual air inside, so it may spit out when you remove it.

Next, stick the neck of your bottle into the hole where the head was removed and start twisting. This method works best on plastic bottles but can also work on some types of glass.

Ring Finger

On some bottles, you can use your ring finger to pry off the lid. Grip the neck of the bottle with your dominant hand, thumb, and forefinger, then push down on one side of the cap with your ring finger.

You should be able to find just enough play between your finger and the lid that it pops right off. This method is specific mainly to glass bottles as plastic caps tend not to give as much as their glass counterparts.

Rubber Band

If you happen to have a rubber band on your wrist (or elsewhere in the house), try using it to pry off your bottle cap. Wrap one end of the rubber band around the bottom side of the bottle cap and start twisting until it pops right off.

You can also try using two rubber bands in this method for added stability. The best rubber bands to use are the thick, sturdy rubber bands made for holding bundles of papers together.

Keychain Ring

Another one of the hacks you can use is a keychain ring (for lack of a better term) to open up your bottle if nothing else is available. Grip the neck of your bottle by sliding one side of the ring over it and start turning counterclockwise until it pops off. This method requires quite a bit of hand strength, so it's probably most suitable for adults.

Hair Tie Method

If you're out at the gym or somewhere without access to any tools, try using a hair tie as a makeshift bottle opener. Grip the neck of the bottle by looping your hair tie around it and start twisting until it pops open. Just make sure you don't scratch anything with those pointy metal clasps. This method isn't easy, but it can get the job done if you're out of options.

Serrated Knife

While it's not the safest way to open a beer bottle, you may find that a serrated knife can help you pop off your bottle cap. The only issue with this method is that there's no good way to grip the neck of the bottle as you twist. So if it slips or breaks as you're turning, it could cause some injury.

So instead, place the blade of the knife at an angle against the top side of your bottle cap and then twist it counter-clockwise until it pops off. Point the serrated edge of the blade away from your knuckle as you do this to minimize the risk of injury if it slips off the neck of the bottle.


There are many different ways to open a bottle without using an opener. While some of these methods may not be suitable for large bottles, they can help you get the job done if you find yourself in certain situations.

However, it's also worth noting that most people will not be able to open larger beer bottles with one hand like many of the videos on YouTube suggest. It takes years of training (and enough space) to perform these party tricks, and even then, there is still a risk that something could go wrong. So please exercise extreme caution when attempting any of these methods to avoid injury.