BARRINGTON, R.I. — Rhode Island's last dry town is poised to get its first two liquor stores in what has shaped up to be a battle between a pair of local would-be businessmen.

The Barrington Town Council granted the first liquor store license to Matthew Amaral (AM'-uh-rall) in November, a year after voters passed a referendum allowing them.

But the race to make history seems likely to be won by Giovanni Cicione (chih-chee-OHN'), who was awarded a license this month. He is hurrying to open his store by Christmas, while Amaral hopes to open in March.

No one seems to think the stores will change Barrington's character much. Restaurants have been serving alcohol since 1992.

But one city councilor thinks two stores are too many. Says Kate Weymouth (WAY'-muth), "Let's do this slowly."