Tottenham's two debutants - Roberto Soldado and Paulinho - both impressed, with the former putting the home side ahead from the penalty spot, while fellow summer signing Nacer Chadli also looked sprightly.
David Lopez denied the home side victory just before half-time with a powerful header.
But all in all it was a decent performance that suggested Tottenham are well-equipped for the season ahead, but their chances of finishing in the top four would be hugely enhanced, of course, if Andre Villas-Boas had his talisman available.
Bale, who has been the subject of a summer-long pursuit by Real Madrid, was excluded from the Spurs matchday squad, officially because of a foot injury.
The fact that the crowd did not sing the Welshman's name once suggested they have already moved on and expect him not to play for the club again.
But with recovered long-term injury victims Younes Kaboul and Sandro both featuring today, and the new signings all performing well, the north London club still have reason for optimism as they look to achieve the Champions League spot that slipped through their grasp last term.
After being paraded in front of a capacity crowd at White Hart Lane, Tottenham's three new signings impressed early on.
Paulinho thought he had given Tottenham the lead with a glancing header from Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick, but the effort was ruled out for offside even though replays showed the Brazilian was level.
Soldado then went close with a wicked header from Sigurdsson's cross.
Home goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had little do in the opening quarter as Spurs dominated the game with some fluid attacking play.
The pressure paid off just before the half-hour when Javi Lopez tripped Danny Rose in the box and Soldado beat Kika Casilla from the penalty spot.
Apart from a long-range drive from Sergio Garcia, Espanyol were struggling to get in to the game but they stunned the home side by equalising on the stroke of half-time.
Lopez coasted to the near post to get between Soldado and Sigurdsson before thumping a header past Lloris.
It was a sloppy goal to concede and the home crowd made their feelings known by booing.
Kaboul, who missed nearly all of last season with a knee injury, came on to a warm welcome at the break and he almost scored with a bullet header.
The game fizzled out thereafter, the only highlight being the return of Sandro for his first game of pre-season.
Rose had to come off near the end of the second half with concussion after an aerial challenge with Christhian Stuani and both teams were content to settle for a draw.