Right next to my office is a place called Home Inn (如家酒店）. It is right at the Pinganli subway station on line 4, really close to Beihai. It is in a quiet hutong and the prices are not too expensive. It isn't exactly a hostel, but it is a smallish hotel in a nice location.
If money weren't an option I'd choose a guesthouse in one of the old courtyard houses but most of those are fairly pricey, especially during this time of year. Depends on your friend's budget.
AJR are you in BJ normally?
Thanks, LD. Location sounds lovely but possibly more somewhere I might stay with my wife?
My friend will want to party as it's his birthday, so it's best to be within staggering distance of some decent bars/restaurants. Also the place needs to be quite lively, hence the reason I'm looking for a hostel as opposed to a hotel/guest house.
No I don't live in BJ, I will be coming up from Shandong Province