Chelsea can reclaim third place with a home win over Wigan Athletic later (1500 GMT) but for now Spurs have a two-point cushion after the unstoppable Wales winger netted his fourth and fifth goals in four games for club and country.
Bale struck first with a dipping free kick after five minutes with James Perch failing to jump in the visitors' wall before Lewis Holtby wasted three chances to increase the lead.
Newcastle's French forward Yoan Gouffran then grabbed his first Premier League goal since signing last month when his effort was deflected in midway through the first half but he later needed oxygen for a leg injury and was substituted.
Spurs had lost their way slightly and introduced Emmanuel Adebayor with the Togo striker finally having returned from the African Nations Cup. Their pressure eventually paid off when Bale ran through and finished with aplomb after 78 minutes.
He missed an easy chance for a hat-trick in stoppage time.
Second-placed Manchester City can cut the gap to leaders Manchester United to six points if they win at Southampton in the late game (1730). United host Everton on Sunday (1600).
- Sports & Recreation
- Lewis Holtby
- Wigan Athletic
- Yoan Gouffran