Test bridge and tap first without VM?

Is it possible to first test a bridge and tap, and maybe even a virtual network interface, before applying it to a VM? I imagine the virtual interface would not be the same one that the VM would create, but, this would be a nice troubleshooting step for getting bridged networking to work on VMs. How could I do such a test?
You could probably assign an IP to the tap interface and bring it up. If it's bridged to a physical network then you should be able to ping other hosts.

# ifconfig tap0 up