Tetracatenar liquid crystals were obtained by substituting the 1,10-phenanthroline central core unit at the 3- and 8-positions by extended, rigid acetylene moieties, equipped at the termini with two alkoxy chains of various lengths (n = 6, 8, 10, 12, 14). The liquid crystals exhibit a rich mesomorphism including smectic C, cubic, hexagonal and rectangular columnar phases, depending on the alkoxy chain length. The corresponding rhenium(I) complexes containing the bulky [ReBr(CO)3] fragment are not liquid-crystalline. The ligands and rhenium(I) complexes were investigated by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Both the ligands and the rhenium(I) complexes can be self-assembled into monolayers at the TCB–graphite and octanoic acid–graphite interfaces. The ligands and rhenium(I) complexes are luminescent.