Skip to main content

Tiger Tiger fined for accidentally giving clubbers caustic soda instead of salt with tequila shots

Tiger Tiger in Haymarket have been fined £120,000 after four customers were hospitalised after mistakenly ingesting caustic soda instead of salt to accompany tequila shots.

The bar and nightclub pleaded guilty to four charges under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Westminster Magistrates Court on 14 December, following an investigation by Westminster City Council’s Health and Safety Team.

On 7 December 2021 a group visited the central London venue and ordered four tequila shots. The bartender prepared the drinks and whilst doing so, realised there was no salt to accompany the tequila shots. He went to an unlit area behind the bar and used a disposable plastic cup to scoop what he believed was salt from a large white container which was on a shelf. The customers then poured the white substance onto the back of their hands, licked it and drank the shot. At this point, the bartender realised something was wrong as the customers immediately became unwell. After tasting the substance or himself it burnt his mouth and tongue and immediately realised that it wasn’t salt.  

Emergency services were called, and water was given to those involved. The people involved were taken to hospital for treatment and police officers who attended the incident confirmed that they identified a white container with a caustic soda label on it. After testing the white substance in the container, it was found to have a PH level of 13 – a strong alkaline.

Tiger Tiger pleaded guilty to all four charges, but the judge gave one fine and put them all under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work act: Duty of employers to non-employees.

Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing said:

The shocking details of this case show a lack of attention and proper process for handling toxic cleaning chemicals. This incident shows that overlooking basic safety measures can have the most serious consequences.

We hope the significant fine awarded in court acts to all businesses as a warning, preventing this from ever happening again.

Westminster City Council’s Health and Safety Team will continue to work with all businesses in the city to make sure the highest levels of health and safety are consistently maintained, and staff are educated in safe practice.”

Published: 19 December 2023