NY Times Features Mountain Dandy's Railroad Spike Bottle Opener

A Tip Of The Cap! What Makes a Good Bottle Opener.


On any given night, bartenders at Spuyten Duyvil, a craft beer bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, open about 200 bottles of beer. Joe Carroll, who owns the bar (as well as Fette Sau, St. Anselm, Gotham Artisanal and Lake Trout), doesn’t tend bar anymore — his role is strictly managerial now — but he did for three years. And he has strong opinions about bottle openers.

So what makes for a good bottle opener?

Ideally, said Mr. Carroll, 44, it’s light, easy to use and “does double duty as something else, like a can opener or corkscrew.”

In preparation for the Super Bowl this weekend, Mr. Carroll, who will be rooting for Seattle (“I’m from New York, I can’t be a Boston fan”), set out to find a few good bottle openers.

At Whisk, a kitchen supply shop in Brooklyn, he pointed out the aptly named Flat opener, a sleek stainless steel piece with several other admirable qualities. “It slides easily in your back pocket,” he said. “Or you could put it on a retractable lanyard. They’re very useful.” And at $4, he added, it was very affordable.

The bottle-opener ring that he found on the World Market website had a unique benefit: Because you wear it on your finger, it’s always at the ready. Using it takes a little practice, but “once you get the motion down, you can do it really quickly,” he said, and if you do it right, most of the time it doesn’t pinch your skin.

For those who prefer a “more manly” opener, Mr. Carroll suggested the opener made out of a railroad spike that he found on Made’s website. It’s big and bulky, he said, but it works well and “feels great in your hand.”

The same could be said of OXO’s “super ergonomic” bottle opener, which Mr. Carroll thought was “really well made.”

And while most of his choices were utilitarian, he did recognize the appeal of the somewhat impractical Antler bottle opener that he found on Rejuvenation’s website.

“If you’re working behind a bar or the type of person to tailgate, this is not the kind of opener you want,” he said. “But for a home bar, a cool conversation piece like this one is a better bottle opener to have."­



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